One of the best times to be in Tokyo is the end of March, when Tokyoites and tourists alike swarm locations across the city to partake in the Japanese tradition, hanami (cherry blossom viewing). On Saturday, March 17, the first buds of Tokyo’s representative cherry blossom tree opened, signalling the official start of the 2018 cherry blossom season.
It typically takes seven to 10 days for the sakura to reach full bloom, and the peak period usually lasts for four to six days. With such a short time frame, it can be overwhelming deciding where to go. So, let us help you out. Here are 14 of the most beautiful places – including a few lesser-known spots – to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo’s central area.
1. Roppongi-Itchome, Minato Ward
The skyscrapers around Roppongi-Itchome Station, in particular around Izumi Garden Tower and Ark Hills, make for a beautiful backdrop to the cherry blossoms. In the evenings, the trees are lit up for an annual sakura festival. This is the place to go for a classic city scene.
Closest station: Roppongi-Itchome
Don’t miss: Tokyo Tower’s City Light Fantasia event, during which a series of stunning sakura scenes will appear across the tower’s Main Deck. Also check out Midtown Blossom 2018, during which the sakura trees are lit up daily from 5pm to 11pm.
2. Ueno Park, Taito Ward
Ueno is a constant hub of activity, and considering the park is home to an impressive number of cherry trees, it’s no surprise it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each spring. This is the place to go for a very lively hanami experience.
Closest station: Ueno
3. Yoga Sakura Tunnel, Setagaya Ward
For something away from the crowds, this residential area in Setagaya might be just what you’re after. A breathtaking cherry blossom tunnel stretches for about one kilometer down an unnamed street, about half way between Yoga Station and Kinuta Park. This is the place to go if you want to have the cherry blossoms almost all to yourself.
Closest station: Yoga
4. Chidorigafuchi, Chiyoda Ward
Part of the Imperial Palace moat, Chidorigafuchi is one of the most popular places to enjoy the cherry blossoms. Mammoth trees line the top of the moat on either side, and the flowers waft gracefully over the stone walls. This is the place to go if you want to row a boat under the cherry trees.
Closest stations: Hanzomon or Kudanshita
Don’t miss: Just on the other side of the Imperial Palace, Aman Tokyo’s cherry blossom-themed lounge will feature a breathtaking nighttime view of cherry blossoms against the Tokyo skyline, plus cherry blossom-themed cocktails, and even special bento boxes created especially for the experience. For even more things to do in Chiyoda area, check out our Chiyoda area guide and our Bancho area guide.
5. Harimazaka, Bunkyo Ward
Along this 500m section of road, you’ll find three rows of cherry trees that create a double tunnel. The median strip between the two roads is a popular spot to picnic. This is the place to go if you want to hanami alongside local families.
Closest station: Myogadani
6. Kinuta Park, Setagaya Ward
Kinuta Park actually used to be a golf course. Its wide, grassy lawns feature over 1,000 cherry trees of all shapes and sizes. This is the place to go if you want a relaxed, spacious place to hanami away from the tourist crowd.
Closest station: Yoga
7. Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku Ward
Shinjuku Gyoen’s easily-accessible location makes it an extremely popular choice for cherry blossom lovers. You won’t find groups of rowdy, drunk people here as alcohol is not permitted. This is the place to go if you want to see cherry trees in a beautifully-kept park.
Closest stations: Shinjuku-Sanchome, Shinjuku-Gyoenmae or Sendagaya
8. Sumida Park, Sumida Ward
Sumida Park is cut in two by Sumida River. The left bank is very open and a great place to stroll. The park on the right side is smaller and more intimate. Both sides are a great place to view Tokyo Skytree and cherry blossoms.
Closest stations: Asakusa or Tokyo Skytree
Don’t miss: The Dembou-in Garden Viewing & Special Exhibition, which offers a chance to take a stroll in Sensoji temple’s secret garden. For even more things to do in the area, check out our Asakusa area guide.
9. Meguro River, Meguro Ward
Often ranked the most popular cherry blossom location in Tokyo, Meguro River — especially around Nakameguro Station — is a must-see. The deep canal is lined with cherry trees that create an incredible tunnel of flowers. This is the place to go if you want to enjoy the blossoms with a glass of champagne in hand.
Closest station: Nakameguro
Don’t miss: The Sato Sakura Museum 5th Cherry Blossom Award Art Exhibition, which offers artistic interpretations of the iconic sakura. For even more things to do in Nakameguro, check out our area guide.
10. Rikugien, Bunkyo Ward
Rikugien is one of Tokyo’s most popular landscape gardens, having existed since the Edo Period. Giant weeping cherries are the main attraction in spring, and are particularly beautiful in the evening when lit up. This is the place to go to for a traditional cherry blossom experience.
Closest station: Komagome
11. Meiji-Dori, Shibuya Ward
From Shibuya Station’s southernmost exit to Hiroo Park, a two kilometer section of Meiji-Dori is lined with weeping cherries and somei yoshino cherries. Despite being one of the main roads in Tokyo, it’s a relatively quiet area. This is the place to go if you want to stroll leisurely beneath the cherry trees.
Closest station: Ebisu
Don’t miss: Yamatane Museum of Art’s exhibition “Sakura, Sakura, Sakura 2018 — Flower Viewing at the Museum.” For more things to do in the area, check out our Ebisu area guide.
12. Senzoku Pond, Ota Ward
Packed with young families, Senzoku Pond is a vibrant place to hang out. Row boats and paddle boats are available to rent, and a small festival offers Japanese street food. This is the place to go if you want to picnic by the water.
Closest station: Senzoku-Ike
13. Koishikawa Korakuen, Bunkyo Ward
The tranquil Koishikawa Korakuen transports you to back to the Edo Period when stroll gardens were reserved for the nobles. This is the place to go to see cherry blossoms from inside a tea house.
Closest stations: Iidabashi or Suidobashi
14. Sengawa River, Setagaya Ward
One of Tokyo’s best kept secrets, the canal behind Toho Studios is like Nakameguro minus the crowds. The effort it takes to get here is well rewarded. This is the place to go for an off-the-beaten-path cherry blossom experience.
Closest station: Seijogakuen-Mae
For even more hanami spots around Tokyo, click here.