Finally spring has sprung!
Tokyo’s cherry trees (known as ‘sakura’) will be in full bloom soon - time to gather your friends, some food and drinks and head to a nice spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing)! Oh, and don’t forget your camera!
If you are unsure where to go, we will have some great hand-picked recommendations for you:
Popular not only among young people is the Yoyogi Park close to the Meiji-Jingu Shrine and just a 3 minute walk from Harajuku Station (along the Yamanote circle line).
With 134 acres and about 600 cherry trees, there is plenty of space to eat and drink under the blooming branches and also enough room to play some soccer, frisbee or look on the water of the ponds.
Also there is usually a lot going on in terms of people performing some music or shows, so you won’t be bored at all.
Should you run out of food or drinks - there are usually a lot of street vendors around the park entrance or walk back to the convenience store in front of Harajuku Station.
3 min. walk from JR Harajuku Station Main Exit
Photo : Wunkai on FlickrThis park is situated in Kichijoji area and a very scenic park with a large pond.
Popular among young people, this is a great dating spot where you can also rent a boat and have some excursion on the pond - however there is a rumor that those couples who will ride the boat on the pond split up..
If you don’t care for spooky stories, this will be a magical sight in the sakura season, however if you don’t want to take the risk there is plenty of beauty going on at the land side as well.
You could have a walk around the pond under the blossoming flowers, check out the small shrine right there and gaze at the koi carps swimming, or simply take a rest on the benches or the nearby cafes and soak in the whole atmosphere.
Since Kichijoji is a quite artistic and young area you may also see many artists drawing or selling their handmade goods in the park.
Also at night usually some blossoming trees are lit up, so you can still enjoy the sight while drinking with friends at night time.
5 min. walk from JR Kichijoji Station Park Exit
https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/english/park/detail_02.html#inokashira (scroll down to Inokashira Park)
Photo : Kimon Berlin on FlickrWith 1800 cherry trees maybe one of the largest spots for hanami is the Koganei Park located on the West side of Tokyo.
It might be a little further away from everything and not the easiest to access, however it is a very large garden and family friendly place.
There are even spots for BBQ and this park tends to be less crowded than the parks in central Tokyo for hanami. Similar to the Yoyogi park you will have a lot of space to play and be active.
By bus (North Exit Bus Stop 2,3 or 4) from Musashi-koganei Station (JR Chuo Line - 30 min. from Shinjuku)
http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/english/park/detail_02.html#koganei (scroll down to Koganei Park)
Photo : Shingo Yoshida on Flickr
Photo : Amy Jane Gustafson on FlickrAs the name indicates already this is a large part right in the center of Tokyo, in the Shinjuku ward.
This park is also a very large one accommodating a variety of trees and flowers, Japanese gardens with ponds and bridges, a tea house and rose garden.
About 1800 cherry trees can be found here. Many different cherry types allow a long viewing period due to some species blooming earlier and some later than in other spots.
This garden is a rather calm one for families and elderly and a little stricter rules, however there is so much to enjoy not only in spring.
Please note that this park charges an entrance fee of 200 JPY for adults and is only open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
10 min. walk from Shinjuku Station East Exit or Shinjuku Gyoenmae Subway Station.
Photo : Marufish on Flickr
Located close to the Tokyo Tower the Shiba Park is a wonderful destination for cherry blossom spotting. Surrounding the Zojo Temple you can take splendid photos with the traditional architecture in the back and also capture the Tokyo Tower with the blossoms - it’s like a postcard picture.
At one spot next to the temple there are also the childlike Zojo statues which are a memorial for miscarried or aborted children - this might sound grim but the statues are actually very cute and often decorated with little hats and toys which gives the area a colourful happy aura - and the blooming flowers reassemble a new beginning after all, am I right?
The Shiba Park is a little smaller and does not give you the opportunity to have a drinking party, but a great spot for a walk.
5 min. walk from Daimon Subway Station or 10 min. walk from JR Hamamatsucho Station.
A general rule which actually applies to all parks where you can sit down: Come early and save a spot - bring a blanket (or plastic sheet) to do so and keep the space for your friends or family. Also make sure to keep an eye of your belongings and dispose of all your garbage afterwards.
Enjoy the sakura season!