Tokyo: Best Cherry Blossom Spots
While Tokyo is more or less a concrete jungle, there are some gorgeous cherry blossom, or sakura, spots check out.
Here’s a concise list of my favorites that I’d recommend - From really popular spots to ones that crowds haven’t yet begun to flood, and one that is only open for 3 hours a year (yes, you read that right).
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The Naka-Meguro area of the Meguro River is a cherry blossom tunnel made up of about 800 trees that span an almost 2.4 mile (4 km) area.
Both day and night are really different experiences. The daytime is a bit calmer with people going for a stroll under the flowers. Evenings on the other hand, become somewhat of a light-up festival with pink lanterns, food stands with outdoor eating and drinking, and illuminated trees that are lit until 9PM.
TRAINS: Hibiya line, Tokyu Toyoko line
On the side and in the back of Tokyo Midtown, a multi-purpose, upscale shopping area in Roppongi, is Sakura-dori, a street lined with cherry blossoms.
Evenings are the most popular time to visit as the trees are illuminated to create a peaceful sakura getaway in the middle of Tokyo. The lights are a pink color while the flowers are blooming and become white once they've reached full bloom.
The area is also heavily visited during the day as crowds wait to enter Midtown at its 11AM opening so they can rush for a balcony seat at Napule [J], an Italian restaurant that sits right above the cherry blossom-lined street.
STATIONS: Roppongi, Nogizaka
TRAINS: Oedo line, Hibiya line, Chiyoda line
One of Tokyo’s biggest parks, Ueno park has cherry blossom trees everywhere - about 800 of them - and during the season, you’ll find a lot of picnickers taking part in “hanami,” or cherry blossom viewing. It's a good place to join in on the fun with a mat and some food and drinks of your own.
There is one main walkway that is fully covered with the sakura trees, as well as around the Shinobazunoike pond [MAP] area a little south of it. You’ll find a lot of park-goers riding foot paddle boats on the lake, enjoying the season as well.
TRAINS: Yamanote line, Ginza line, Hibiya line, Keihin-Tohoku line, Utsunomiya line, Joban line and more
On the northwest corner of the Imperial Palace grounds, the Chidorigafuchi area is full of cherry blossoms lining the moat's banks.
A tunnel of about 260 trees covers a walkway that runs alongside the moat, where people enjoy rowing around the blossoms in small boats during the day.
TRAINS: Hanzomon line, Shinjuku line, Tozai line
This location isn’t on a lot of lists for some reason, but it definitely should be. For those looking for picturesque cherry blossoms without a crowd, this might be the best spot in Tokyo.
Above Roppongi-itchome station is the Ark Hills business area. During cherry blossom season, they have a little sakura festival in their open space with food and drink stands and the streets around the buildings are lined with about 150 cherry blossom trees.
TRAIN: Namboku line
On the opposite side of central Shibuya is a side street with a tunnel of cherry blossoms. Its name, Sakuragaokacho even references the cherry blossoms or sakura in Japanese, and that name continues to be make perfect sense today.
You can take some nice shots from either on the side of the street itself, or across the intersection at the stairway to the pedestrian overpass.
TRAINS: Yamanote line, Ginza line, Hanzomon line, Keio-Inokashira line, Saikyo line, Tokyu-Toyoko line, Shonan-Shinjuku line, Tokyo Den-entoshi line and more
This part of the No River is beautifully lined with cherry blossoms draping over it. While it’s open to the public at all times, the real spectacle is their evening light-up that spans 930 yards (850 meters) - but there’s a catch.
This light-up is only announced 2 days prior to the event in places like the Japanese website below and is held for 3 hours on one evening only. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from Kokuryo station on the Keio line.
One of three surviving daimyo gardens in Tokyo leftover from the Edo period, Koishikawa Korakuen has been designated as culturally significant by the Japanese government. History aside, it’s a beautiful garden and the flowers during cherry blossom season further emphasizes that.
It’s a private garden, so visitors have to pay 300 yen to get in. You can grab a bento and sit under the trees for lunch, which makes for a pleasant afternoon.
One of the lesser known areas that isn’t so frequently visited for cherry blossoms is Shimotakaido, a local area along the Keio train line. Near Nihon University, there’s an area of the street with a pretty long tunnel of sakura.
In the spring when the blossoms are bloomed, there’s a small cherry blossom festival with food and drink vendors lined along the street.
TRAIN: Keio line
SHINJUKU GOYEN NATIONAL GARDEN
In the Shinjuku area is Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a large 143-acre park with various gardens, lakes and a greenhouse. It’s considered to be one of the most important gardens from the Meiji era.
The park is private, so visitors have to pay 500 yen to get in. Rules are also pretty strictly enforced so there’s no alcohol allowed. It’s a fairly quiet area in the middle of Shinjuku and visitors are generally calmer and reserved than the other cherry blossom areas.
Areas that I’m looking to check for this season for the first time are:
Yaesu Sakura street - Tokyo Station
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