Spring is in the air, and any excuse to go outside will do. Sakura viewing is perhaps one of the best reasons to round up your nearest and dearest. Head out to enjoy the precious little flowers in your own way, be that picnicking under a canopy of pink (hanami) or snapping a myriad of pictures against a backdrop of pink fluff. Here are our favorite places — both the classics and some little-known spots — to catch cherry blossoms around Tokyo.

Ueno park best sakura spots

1. Ueno Park

Festivities in majestic surroundings

From mid-March to the end of April, Ueno Park blooms. With three main types of cherry blossom trees, the period is especially grand for a rather long time. If you head in mid-March or mid-April, you’ll be able to catch some overlap between the varieties as well. The park is considered one of the best sakura spots in Tokyo, and makes the most of its abundant sakura. It hosts a festival themed around the flowers, which sees cute bonbori (paper-covered lanterns) hanging from tree to tree, lighting the way at night.

best sakura spots

2. Yoyogi Park

For people-watching as much as flower-watching

One of the biggest and busiest, Yoyogi Park is conveniently located and draws thousands of people each year. For that reason, you’ll have to get here especially early if you want to get a decent spot near any cherry blossoms. The good thing about Yoyogi is that it’s huge and also open 24 hours, so, if possible, it’s probably best to head there outside peak times. Close to the Yoyogi-Koen Station entrance is a grassy hill with cherry blossoms — a particular favorite.

If you head there during peak times, though, don’t worry. You’ll still enjoy it.

best sakura spots meguro river

3. Meguro River

Sakura strolling along the river

Festivities abound in the trendy Tokyo neighborhood of Nakameguro, as residents flock to Meguro River to admire its abundant blooms. The short stretch of river is perfect if you want to keep moving — especially at nighttime as the temperature drops, meandering along the riverbank is a great way to keep warm while checking out the flowers. You’ll be treated to food stalls and adorable lanterns, too, making this a picturesque and distinctly Japanese cherry blossom scene.

If you’re keen for a spot of yozakura, we recommend heading over in the evening. Grab a choco banana from one of the stalls and start your stroll.

best sakura spots shinjuku gyoen

4. Shinjuku Gyoen

An inner-city escape

Shinjuku Gyoen charges an entrance fee, which works in your favor: it’s not as busy as some of the other centrally-located parks, and they have enough money to maintain the fancy garden and pond.

One of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing is near its quaint Japanese Garden Area, as you can get that shot of sakura over a tranquil pond. If you’re after a picnic style vibe, the area near to the Shinjuku entrance has bountiful blooms.

best sakura spots inokashira

5. Inokashira Park

Quieter and with boats

Another suburban sakura spot, Inokashira is perhaps the most popular excursion for city folks looking to “get away” from busier areas like Shinjuku and Asakusa. Occasionally, this may mean that Inokashira Park is just as busy as the inner-city places, especially on sunny weekends. But don’t let that put you off: it’s worth a visit, and even a row in the swan boat, as this park has a lake.

While you are there, pay a visit to the Ghibli Museum. If you do, though, make sure to book far in advance and pray for good weather.

best uncrowded sakura spots kinen memorial park tachikawa

6. Showa Memorial Park

Charming and contrasting colors

Hop on the train to Tachikawa, and you’ll be able to spend the day admiring over 1,500 cherry blossom trees. A former military airbase, Showa Memorial Park is relatively new as parks go. It was built so visitors could admire flowers while in season. This, of course, includes sakura, of which there are 31 varieties.

Around the start of April, the park boasts many different types of flowers, including rapeseed and cherry blossom, which are located next to each other on the north side of the park. This makes for a gorgeous contrast of buttercup yellow bed canopied with fluffy pink clouds. Any designer will tell you that this combination is far from ideal, but when it comes to nature, anything goes. And it looks magical.

best sakura spots

7. Chidori-ga-fuchi Green Way

A fantastic date spot

Row down the moat in your cornflower-blue boat with pink fluffy cherry blossoms above and their shimmering reflections in the water. It’s an idyllic scene that is quintessentially a bucket-list view, especially when coupled with the Japanese Imperial Palace standing majestically in the background.

Chidori-ga-Fuchi Green Way, also known as Chidori-ga-Fuchi Park, is the perfect place for a cute date with your beloved, as you swish along the surface of the moat. Each boat is available for either 30 minutes or one hour. To get yourself in the mood before you head over, a Chidori-ga-Fuchi live camera is on hand so you can check the current cherry blossom status.

best less crowded sakura spots kinuta

8. Kinuta Park

Away from the center of Tokyo, Kinuta offers impressive pinks

Nestled in the suburbs, Kinuta Park has the advantage of being a little out-of-the-way when compared to other spots. Accessible by bike or bus, this expansive park is geared towards suburban families, with almost half its area occupied by playgrounds and sports pitches. You’ll also find Setagaya Art Museum there, which is worth a look if you’re in the area.

To sakura hunt in Kinuta Park, head mid-west, where you’ll find a grassy cherry blossom area perfect for picnicking. The bird sanctuary to the west of the park is also lined with flowers, making for a great little stroll. If pink and blue is your thing, head to Yato River at the top of the park.

best secret sakura spots

9. Koishikawa Botanical Garden

Learn from the experts in this secret sakura spot

Ride the Marunouchi Line to Myogadani Station, and you’ll soon find Koishikawa Botanical Garden, one of two gardens by the University of Tokyo. Koishikawa boasts trees over 300 years old in its stately arboretum.

Not as well-known as other spots, Koishikawa is beautifully maintained, and it is located close to the end of the train line, so it makes for a great visit from the city. In terms of the quality of the sakura, it’s one of the best in Tokyo. It’s a lot quieter than some of the other more famous places, yet is relatively easy to access. Beware that these lawns take a long time to perfectly manicure, so the venue closes before 5 p.m.

Same, but different: Koishikawa Korakuen is a beautiful blooming park. The oldest Japanese garden in Tokyo, it’s worth checking out too.

Aoyama cemetery alternative cherry blossom viewing spots

Photo by Takashi Images via Shutterstock

10. Aoyama Cemetery

Remember the dead while checking the sakura

While it may seem like a bit of a morbid spot, Aoyama Cemetery is actually a very nice space to simply admire and reflect on things. Understandably quieter than many other central spots, you can’t go crazy on cans of Strong Zero or sing along to the music coming out of your tiny portable speaker here. It does, however, boast plenty of benches and well-tended walkways, surrounded by cherry blossoms. It’s free to enter, and you may even learn some Japanese history by looking at the headstones while you’re at it.

On the theme of cemeteries, Yanaka Cemetery is also a good place to see cherry blossoms if you’re in the north of Tokyo.

best sakura spots tokyo

Photo by picture cells via Shutterstock

Bonus: Koganei Park

Surprisingly peaceful

Spend the whole day at Tokyo’s fifth largest, multi-ward park. Koganei Park has entrances in Koganei, Kodaira, Nishitokyo, and Musashino, which might make it one of the easiest parks to reach, in terms of access.

Bizarrely, despite containing around 1,400 cherry blossom trees, Koganei is often excluded from sakura lists. To put that into perspective, Ueno Park, often cited as the most popular place to see sakura, has roughly 800. Koganei Park also has shrines and one of our favorite museums: the Edo Open-Air Architectural Museum. Spend the whole day there, starting at one side of the park and moving to the other. Check out the shrines, museum and sakura as you go. If you need to be under a pink canopy, visit the dedicated sakura garden, with over 400 trees crammed into the space.

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