The Sakura (Cherry Blossom) flower is definitely one of the most iconic symbols of spring in Japan. These flowers will bloom all over the country across the months of March to April, and you will be able to enjoy them in various places. When is the best time to watch Sakura in Tokyo? You will find the best time for Spring 2017 at the end of this article. If you want to experience the best Sakura flower-watching experience in Tokyo, these are 8 places you should check out!
Night time Sakura watching at Sumida Park
Sumida Park is one of the famous Hanami spots in Tokyo and a Sakura festival will be held during the spring season. The Sakura flowers there are beautiful in the day, but even more glorious during the light ups at night. Almost 10000 Sakura flowers line the river bank in Sumida Park, creating an amazing reflection along the Sumida River. Not only will the Sakura trees be lit up, but so will the urban landscape around it such as the Azuma Bridge, allowing visitors to enjoy both the flowers and cityscape of Tokyo.
Sumida Park 隅田公園
Address: 1-1, Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Access: 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Asakusa station
Walk through the Sakura tunnel at Ueno Park
Ueno Park is also another famous Sakura spot that is well loved by tourists and locals alike. Over 50 species of Sakura trees line the paths in Ueno Park, and when they are in full bloom, their huge canopies create a marvellous “Sakura tunnel” in the park. In 2016, the National Museum of Western Art, located within Ueno Park, was designated as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site and it is definitely worth a visit too after a great day of Sakura watching.
Ueno Park 上野恩寵公園
Address: 5-20, Uenokoen, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Access: 6-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ueno station
The calm night Sakura of Chidori-ga-fuchi
Yasukuni Shrine is one of the famous places in Tokyo for Sakura watching too. Located in the shrine is the Sakura tree that represents Tokyo – Sakura bloom in Tokyo will only be officially announced when this tree bears its flowers!
Amongst the hot spots in the shrine is Chidori-ga-fuchi, where there are about 260 Sakura trees of different species. At night, these trees will be lit up. The withered flowers floating on the pond below the trees also add to the picture, creating a calm and almost dreamy atmosphere.
Address: Inside Yasukuni Shrine, Kudan minami, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
Access: 10-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Hanzomon station
Enjoy the cityscape together with Sakura
Mouri Garden is located between two major buildings in Tokyo - Roppongi Hills and the office building of TV Asahi Corporation. Located in Roppongi Hills are various attractions like restaurants, museums and cinemas. Despite being located in such an urban environment, Mouri Garden is a quiet park where Sakura watching can be enjoyed. The Sakura trees will also be lit up at night, allowing one to enjoy the great illumination of Sakura flowers and the cityscape.
Mouri Garden 毛利庭園
Address: 6-10-1, Roppongi, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 6-minute walk from Tokyo metro Roppongi station
Enjoy a stroll down the Sakura-zaka Slope
Sakura-zaka (literally, Sakura Slope) is a 200-metre long slope located in Denenchofu in Ota ward, Tokyo. 33 Sakura trees are planted along the slope, thus giving it its name. One of the most iconic locations along the slope is Sakura-bashi (literally, Sakura Bridge) located around the middle part of the slope, where one can enjoy the serene view of the whole slope. Popular amongst families and couples, Sakura-zaka slope is one of the places to visit if you prefer a quiet and relaxing Sakura watching session.
Sakura-zaka Slope 桜坂
Address: 19, Denenchofu honcho, Ota Ward, Tokyo
Access: 6-minute walk from Tokyu Tamagwa line Numabe station
Learn the history of Japanese Sakura at Komagome
There are today over 600 species of Sakura in the world. One of the most famous ones found in Japan is Somei-yoshino, a species that was born in Komagome, Tokyo. Like many other Sakura species, Somei-yoshino was created through the cross breeding of different species.
Located in Komagome are historical places such as the Somei-yoshino Sakura Memorial Park where the Somei-yoshino trees and its “parents” can be compared. Other well-known locations include the Bodaiji Shrine, which is lined with many Somei-yoshino Sakura flowers.
Saifuku ji 西福寺
Address: 6-11-4, Komagome, Toshima Ward, Tokyo
Access: 7-minute from JR Komagome station
The amazing Shidare-Zakura of Rikugi-en
Every year, there will be a forecast on when the Sakura flowers will be in full bloom – their most beautiful stage. This year, 2017, it is expected that the Sakura will start flowering in Tokyo around 25 March and will be in full bloom at 3 April. Make sure you plan your days accordingly to have the best Hanami experience ever!
Shidare-Zakura is a species of Sakura tree most known for its unique shape where the branches and flowers look like they are “hanging” from the tree. When entering Rikugi-en from the main gate, you will be welcomed by a huge Shidare-Zakura tree which is 13 metres tall, 17 metres wide. This tree is known to be about 60 years old. Marvellous Shidare-Zakura trees like this are located around the Rikugi-en compound. Illuminations are also carried out at night, allowing visitors to enjoy not only the beautiful Sakura flowers but also the gorgeous Japanese-style garden.
Address: 6 -16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Access: 8-minute walk from JR Komagome station
Admire Sakura flowers together with Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower is undeniably one of the icons of Japan, and is a place you definitely have to visit when visiting Tokyo. Zojoji Shrine is a shrine located near the tower, with a history of over 600 years. With around 400 Sakura trees in the shrine compound, it is also one of the famous places around for Sakura watching. When visiting Zojoji, you get to appreciate the history and culture of Japan and also take this fantastic brag-worthy photo of beautiful Sakura flowers and Tokyo Tower in the same frame!
Address: 4-7-35, Shibakoen, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 6-minute walk from Tokyo metro Mita line Shibakoen station
When is the best time for Hanami?
According to the latest forecast from Japan weather report, the best Hanami time in Tokyo is the 1st weekend of April, which is on 1st and 2nd April, although it is forecasted to blossom from March 24th. Day time around this season is usually quite comfortable but the temperature drops sharply at night. Do keep yourself warm if you plan to do Hanami-watching at night!
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