The 13 Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Tokyo
Come spring, Tokyo is painted pink with the glow of the world-renowned cherry blossoms. To find the best Tokyo cherry blossom spots, check out our guide to the top 13.
Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are the unofficial flower of Japan, a much-loved symbol of fleeting beauty and mortality. Glorified in literature, reproduced in art and serenaded in song, they occupy a special place in Japan’s heart.
The most visible expression of this, unsurprisingly, comes when the flowers are in blossom and crowds the length and breadth of the country flock to bask in their unique beauty, an event named hanami (flower-viewing). Tokyo’s urban vastness belies the fact that it is littered with areas of greenery, which, come sakura season, turn a brilliant pink. We’re here to point you in the direction of these spots with our rundown of the 13 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo.
If you’re totally new to sakura and hanami, why not first take a look at our beginners guide to cherry blossoms, right here.
How Long Are the Cherry Blossoms in Bloom?
In Tokyo, the cherry blossom trees begin blooming in around mid-March, are usually in full bloom from around the end of March to the beginning of April and after this begin to quickly fade. Therefore, the window of opportunity for seeing the cherry blossoms at their best only lasts for around two weeks.
Such an ephemeral event needs to be taken advantage of to the fullest. Using our guide to Tokyo cherry blossoms, it can be.
In no particular order, the 13 best cherry blossom viewing spots in the city.
1. Meguro River
Eight-hundred cherry blossom trees flank Meguro River on either side, making it one of the most instagrammable spots in Tokyo. The river, which, more accurately, is a canal, is at its most beautiful at night when paper lanterns light up the whole area as part of the Nakameguro Sakura Festival (from early-April). Combine your hanami with a stroll around the many boutiques in fashionable Nakameguro or a coffee at one of the many cafes and make the most of your day.
Access: Nakameguro Station
2. Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the largest parks in Tokyo with an abundance of beautiful cherry blossom trees. The park is known for the longevity of its sakura season, its trees often blooming for longer than in many other locations. Latecomers, thus, head straight for Shinjuku Gyoen. For a full guide to the park whatever the season, check out our dedicated article.
Address: 11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to
3. Mount Fuji
Who could resist the alluring combination of Mount Fuji framed by the blooming cherry blossoms? If you don’t take exception to this, the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko is definitely the place to head. Like Shinjuku Gyoen, the blossoms here are also known to hold their beauty a little longer than in other areas, which is also handy.
Access: Kawaguchiko Station
4. Ueno Park
Ueno Park, one of the biggest and most popular parks in Tokyo has more than 1,000 trees in the area around Shinobazu Pond and the National Museum. Home to an array of Tokyo’s best museums, treat your eyes to the beauty of the blossoms before treating your mind to some Japanese history or art. What’s more, the blossoms in Ueno Park tend to spring to life slightly earlier than in other places.
Address: Ueno Park
Access: Ueno Station, Ueno-okachimachi Station
5. Sumida Park
The park on both sides of the Sumida River has been a favourite Tokyo cherry blossom spot from at least the Edo period and it is easy to see why. With swathes of cherry blossom trees, the beauty of the flowers and the river is inimitable. Take a day-time river cruise for the full experience or head to the park at night to see the whole area artfully lit up with countless lanterns and bulbs.
Address: Sumida River
Access: Asakusa Station
Chidorigafuchi, a section of the Imperial Palace’s moat, is another prime Tokyo cherry blossom spot. At night, illuminations spotlight the flowers wonderfully, the historic location lending Chidorigafuchi an atmosphere like no other. As the season begins to draw to a close and the trees shed their petals, the surface of the moat is painted pink. Rent a boat and row through the sea of pastel pink for an experience like no other.
Access: Kudanshita Station, Hanzomon Station, Ichigaya Station
7. Koishikawa Korakuen
Koishikawa Korakuen, a park in Tokyo’s Bunkyo district, has been in existence since the Edo period and still retains some of the feeling of that era. The grounds are beautifully landscaped in traditional Japanese style, something enhanced by the coming of the cherry blossoms in spring. However, the cherry blossoms here bloom faster than in other gardens, so don’t hang around.
Access: Iidabashi Station, Korakuen Station
Admission: 300 yen
8. Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park, a park popular for its free spirited vibe, is home to over 600 cherry blossom trees. Although not considered quite as beautiful as some of Tokyo’s other cherry blossom spots, the space, freedom and laid-back vibe the park provides make it perfect for a lengthy hanami session. To find out everything you need to know about Yoyogi Park, take a look at our full Yoyogi Park guide.
Access: Harajuku Station, Yoyogi Station
9. Inokashira Park
Inokashira Park in the much-loved Kichijoji neighbourhood is another of Tokyo’s premier sakura locations. Out to the city’s west, Inokashira is a large park home to a zoo, the famed Studio Ghibli Museum and punctuated by a large lake in its centre. Come spring, the many cherry blossom trees that encircle the lake make it a joy to behold and, as the crowds are a testament to, not to be missed. One of the best views is from the bridge crossing the lake or from a rentable swan-boat.
Address: Inokashira Park
Access: Kichijoji Station, Inokashirakoen Station
10. Mount Takao
Mount Takao is probably more famous for being a great place to see the momiji autumn leaves than the cherry blossoms, but nevertheless, come spring, the area is brushed with pink. Because of the colder mountain weather, the flowers at Mount Takao tend to bloom later than in other spots around Tokyo. A relatively easy climb and with lots of things to see in the area, Mount Takao is a great choice for a Tokyo day-trip. For all the info, read our Mount Takao guide.
Address: Mount Takao
Access: Takaosanguchi Station
11. Showa Memorial Park
Showa Memorial Park is one of the largest public parks in Tokyo, spanning an area of over 160 hectares. Located just outside Tokyo, the park makes for a great place for a day-trip from the city proper. Especially so in spring when the slightly late-blooming cherry blossoms douse the park in beautiful pink. Whilst in the area also be sure to take advantage of one of the many walking trails and the Bonsai Museum.
Address: Showa Memorial Park
Access: Nishi-Tachikawa Station
12. Imperial Palace East Gardens
The Imperial Palace East Gardens located, unsurprisingly, to the east of the Imperial Palace are a great chance to mix your cherry blossom viewing with some Japanese history. The Imperial Palace East Gardens themselves were built in 1657, and although the inner grounds remain off-limits, the gardens provide an excellent spot for hanami picnics and gentle wandering.
Address: Imperial Palace East Gardens
Access: Otemachi Station, Tokyo Station
13. Asukayama Park
Asukayama Park was one of the first public parks in Tokyo, home to over 650 tree varieties by order of the Shogun who wanted to beautify Tokyo. Of these varieties, who could deny that the sakura’s are some of the best. When the flowers bloom toward the end of March, this age-old park is given a new lease of life. The park is also the site of three well-regarded museums, the Kita City Asukayama Museum, Shibusawa Memorial Museum and the Paper Museum.
Address: Asukayama Park
Access: Asukayama Station, Oji Station, Ojiekimae Station, Sakaecho Station
Want more from Tokyo? What to see, what to do, what to eat and all the vital info? Compathy Magazine has everything you need and more: