Any visitors who have planned a trip to Japan during this year’s peak season may find themselves disappointed with the floral offerings thus far. Visitors who headed to Tokyo’s favorite sakura hotspots this past weekend, such as Yoyogi Park, or the serene Shinjuku Gyoen, found themselves dismayed at the wintry remains of bare trees and gray skies. In Shinjuku Gyoen, masses crowded around a single tree to desperately capture a perfectly pink picture, while others eschewed the flower famine, getting “revenge drunk” in the yellowed grass instead.

Although the blossom forecast originally predicted the arrival of Tokyo’s Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms on March 23, an unseasonal bout of rain and chilly weather has delayed the arrival of the sakura. According to updated forecasts, the cherry blossom should start to bloom in Tokyo around March 27, with full bloom only expected as late as April 5. 

Finding yourself dismayed by the lack of petals in your hair? Fear not. While the flowers themselves might be late to the party, we have a number of alternative ways to get stuck into sakura mania in Tokyo.

cherry blossoms tokyo

Allergy-Free Cherry Blossoms in Tenbou Park Sakura Festival

The absence of sakura so far this year might have come as good news to some of the hay-fever sufferers across the country. But this year, Sunshine City has a solution for both the late bloom and any allergy-riddled folk. Held at the Sunshine 60 Observatory, from March 1 until May 12 of this year, visitors can enter “Park in the Sky,” a brand-new experience that provides the beauty of spring without the unreliability of the weather. Get the picture-perfect image of sakura some 251 meters above sea level, with a cherry blossom drink or meal in hand. The festival is open to all from 11am-9pm, with tickets starting from ¥700 for adults. Check out this website for more details.

cherry blossom, hanami, tokyo, japan cherry blossom, viewing, sakura viewing

Cherry Blossom Viewing at the Tokyo National Museum

In preparation for a season such as this, each spring the Tokyo National Museum selects different cherry blossom-themed objects from its collection and plants them around the Japan Gallery. This year, the items on display include intricately detailed Edo period silk screens, such as “Viewing Cherry Blossoms at Sensoji Temple,” kimono dotted with weeping cherry trees and chrysanthemums, as well as 18th century ceramics with cherry blossom designs. Experience the ephemeral beauty of cherry blossoms with works of art that have stood the test of time.

Date & Time UNTIL Mar 31, 2024・08:00-19:00・Open 11:00-19:00 on weekends and holidays
Price Price varies according to stock
Location Sony Park Mini

Shibuya Sakura Festival

First completed on November 30, 2023, the Shibuya Sakura Stage is a brand-new space featuring shops, restaurants, live performances and other events in the heart of Tokyo. To commemorate spring, a Shibuya Sakura Festival is taking place here until April 10. Check the website for the festival schedule and more details, but expect to find exhibitions by local artists such as Yoichi Ochiai, a street piano in collaboration with Yamaha, live music performances as well as a Sakura Book Festival. Don’t let a lack of flowers stop you from getting the most out of Tokyo’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

Date & Time UNTIL Apr 10, 2024・00:00-00:00・Check the website for events and times
Price Free
Location Shibuya Sakura Stage

Spring Festival at the National Museum of Modern Art

For those more inclined towards Japan’s contemporary offerings, the MOMAT has just the exhibition to ensure you make the most of Tokyo’s art scene, while also getting your sakura fix. This spring-themed exhibition has some of the finest Japanese cherry blossom paintings on display, including Kawai Gyokudo’s “Parting Spring,” as well as Kikuchi Hobun’s “Fine Rain on Mt. Yoshino.” For those wanting to learn more, English tours of these exhibits are running on select dates, as part of the MOMAT “Let’s Talk Art!” program. 

Date & Time UNTIL Apr 7, 2024・10:00-17:00・Open until 20:00 Fridays and Saturdays
Price ¥500 (included in MOMAT Collection Ticket)
Location National Museum of Modern Art
hanami brunch

Photo by Koji Hanabuchi

Sakura Party Menu at Bills

The perfect solution for a rainy day is eating and drinking sakura-flavored items. One great option is Australian brunch restaurant Bills, which is hosting its very own hanami party in all of its eight locations throughout March. The menu includes sakura-themed drinks, such as cherry blossom soda, made with cherry, plum and thyme syrup, as well as cherry blossom gin. Instead of sitting miserably in the rain, soak up cherry blossom fun from the comfort of the restaurant, gazing at the occasional pink blossom from the safety of a window.

Date & Time UNTIL Mar 31, 2024・08:30-23:00・Opening times vary according to each restaurant
Price Drinks ¥900-¥1,300 apiece
Location Bills Ginza

Related Posts