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Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms

Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is the spring spectacle for Japanese. Eating, drinking and having a picnic party with friends or co-workers while admiring cherry blossoms is what is known as “hanami” in Japanese - literally meaning “looking at flowers.” However, in ancient times people believed deities dwelled in cherry blossom trees, hence hanami began as a celebration of man and divine spirits together eating and drinking. Now, doesn’t that story make you appreciate Japanese culture and history a bit more?

 

In a fantasy-like portrait a seemingly infinite number of white and pink little flowers blossoming exuberantly on cherry trees can only be described as one of nature’s treasures.

 

How to Enjoy Hanami: There is a saying in Japanese: “Hana yori dango,” which translates to “dumplings over flowers,” meaning people often are more interested in the practical over the aesthetic, and hanami is a great example of that metaphor. It may appear as though Japanese have hanami parties to see the flowers in full bloom, but those that gather are more interested in drinking and partying. Basically, people congregate in small groups to drink, eat, and have a good time. Often you will find some Japanese person singing at the top of their lungs, so you too should drink, be merry and go a little crazy at your own hanami party.

 

If you prefer a more relaxed, quiet scene to see the cherry blossom trees, go during the weekdays before 5pm. Weekends and holidays are busy with parties starting from the morning, so throw any expectations of a peaceful viewing experience. Want to throw your own hanami party? The park you plan to have your party will most likely sell snacks and food within the park and perhaps even a restaurant but if not, go to the local convenience store or supermarket and buy some food and drinks. Don’t forget to buy a tarp to sit or lay on. If there is a supermarket nearby, go there instead. Beverages and food will be much cheaper.

 

  • Insider Knowledge:

Cherry blossoms aren’t just beautiful to look at. Their transient existence from blossoming all at once to being whisked away by spring winds - often around the 10th of April - is like the fleeting life of humans; moreover, the gracefulness that encompasses everything about cherry blossoms is symbolic of the samurai spirit. And so, it has been said that cherry blossoms have been beloved by Japanese for centuries.   Many schools plant and grow cherry blossom trees at their school as the tree symbolizes “a new beginning” or “a new life,” and Japanese school graduations and entrances fall during the same period when these flowers bloom from March to April.

 


 

Recommended Spots:  

[caption id="attachment_13927" align="aligncenter" width="1800"]Ueno Onshin Park Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: otsukastone.co.jp Ueno Onshi Park[/caption]

Ueno Onshi Park [上野恩賜公園]

Ueno Park is a prominent cherry blossom viewing spectacle within the city, loved by the people for the past 400 years. Within the grand garden 1,000 trees decorated in cherry blossoms are lined along a walking path that lead to the water fountain, shaped almost like a tunnel of sakura, it’s a sight for sore eyes. At night, paper lanterns light up the spring evening for patrons to enjoy yozakura, or night cherry blossoms.  

 

Night Viewing: 5:30pm〜8pm [Adjusted for peak blooming season]

Group Party: Permitted. Permanent stands, restaurants, and street stalls available on Benten – Goddess of Wisdom – pond grounds.

 

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April   Address: Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo Access: 5 min. walk from [JR: Ueno Station] Tokyo Metro Ginza line, Hibiya line. 3 min. walk from [Keisei Main line: Keisei Ueno Station]

Tel: 03-3828-5644

URL: http://www.ueno.or.jp/  

 


[caption id="attachment_13937" align="aligncenter" width="1936"]Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: 花見.tokyo.jp/ Sumida Park Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Sumida Park [隅田公園]

Spanning around 1km, 350 cherry blossom trees are in glorious form along the Sumida River, shaping a sakura tunnel. There is an aquatic bus terminal to take in the sights by aquatic bus or by yakatabune, or Japanese old-fashioned house boat. Both methods of transportation will allow you to see the sakura on both banks of the river.  

 

Night Viewing: Paper lantern, from evening to 9:30pm.

Group Party: Permitted. A large number of open stands are lined up.

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April  

Address: 1-chome, 2-chome, 5-chome, Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Access:

  • - 5 min. walk from [Asakusa Station] on Tobu Isezaki line / Tokyo Metro Ginza line.
  • - 7 min. walk from [Honjo Azumabashi Station] on Toei Asakusa line.

Tel: 03-5608-6951 [Weekdays] 03-6658-8097 [Weekends/Holidays]

URL: http://visit-sumida.jp/  


[caption id="attachment_13936" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]Imperial Palace Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: mokuou.blogspot.jp/ Imperial Palace Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Imperial Palace East Garden [皇居東御苑]

A stroll through the Imperial Palace Garden, is well recommended after a bit of Imperial Palace sightseeing. 

 

Night Viewing: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Late April

Address: 1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: 5 min. walk from Exit C13 [Otemachi Station] on Tokyo Metro / Toei Subway

Tel: 03-3213-1111

URL:http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/event/higashigyoen/higashigyoen.html  


[caption id="attachment_13935" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Hibiya Park Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/ Hibiya Park Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Hibiya Park [日比谷公園]

The park, which was the first westernized park in modern time, sits surrounded by a business district bustling with office workers in need of a break. With a water fountain, flower gardens, and greenery plotted all around, workers can get a sense of tranquility from their hectic day.   The plaza square “kamome hiroba” [かもめlの広場] is the best spot for cherry blossom viewing. It is highly recommended for someone like yourself who may want to sit and relax on a bench for a moment.  

 

Night Viewing: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late〜Early April  

Address: Hibiya Park, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: 1 min walk from A10 / A14 Exit [Hibiya Station] on Tokyo Metro Hibiya line.

Tel: 03-3501-6428 (Hibiya Park)  

 


Chidorigafuchi koen [千鳥ケ淵公園]/ Yasukuni Shrine [靖国神社]

Near the park lies a green road, 700 meters long, lined with 1,000 cherry blossom trees.   In the evening, the sakura are lite up in elegant fashion giving you the chance to experience “yozakura,” or night sakura.   Near there is Yasukuni Shrine that lends its space to 200 food stands. Not a bad place to have your hanami party taking in the site. About 1 million people visit annually, so clearly it’s a go-to place.   Let’s not forget the Imperial Palace that is nearby. If you make a reservation for the weekday ahead of time, you are allowed entry. It’s the perfect place to check out if you are looking to do something before your cherry blossom party.  

[caption id="attachment_13934" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Chidorigafuchi Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: 生活の知恵.jp Chidorigafuchi Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Chidorigafuchi koen [千鳥ケ淵公園]:

Night Viewing: 6pm〜10pm

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April  

Address: 2-chome to sanbancho, Kudanminami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: 5 min. walk from Exit 2 of Tokyo Metro Tozai line / Hanzomon line / Toei Shinjuku line [Kudanshita Station]

Tel: 03-3556-0391    

[caption id="attachment_13933" align="aligncenter" width="680"]Yasukuni Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: blog-imgs-37.fc2.com Yasukuni Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Yasukuni Shrine [靖国神社]:

Night Viewing: Light- up from sunset〜10pm

Group Party: Around 200 food stands are lined up, group parties permitted within the food stand area.

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April  

Address: 3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: 10 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Yurakucho line / Toei Shinjuku line [Ichigaya Station]

Tel: 03-3261-8326

URL: http://www.yasukuni.or.jp/  


Tokyo Midtown/Roppongi Hills/Ark Hills:  

Why not sip some champagne in Tokyo Midotwn’s open-air café and while viewing the cherry blossoms? Both Tokyo Midtown and Ark Hills have cherry blossom tree lined streets forming a tunnel. You can look down upon the Japanese garden from Roppongi Hills and see sakura as well. At night, each spot is lit-up like a scene from a fairytale.  

[caption id="attachment_13932" align="aligncenter" width="714"]Tokyo Midtown Cherry Blossom Photo Credittokyo-midtown.com Tokyo Midtown Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Tokyo Midtown:

Night Viewing: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Mid-April  

Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Access: near Exit 8 of Tokyo Metro / Toei Railways [Roppongi Station]

Tel: 03-3475-3100

URL: http://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/index.html  

[caption id="attachment_13931" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Ark Hills Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: naka803.blog31.fc2.com/ Ark Hills Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Ark Hills:

Night Viewing: Light-up 5pm〜10:30pm

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April  

Address: 1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Access: 2 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Nanboku line [Roppongi Itchome Station] 4 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Nanboku line and Ginza line [Tameikesanno Station]

Tel: 03-6406-6663  

[caption id="attachment_13930" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]Roppongi Hills Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: sophia-blog.seesaa.net Roppongi Hills Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan[/caption]

Roppongi Hills:  

Night Viewing: Cherry Blossom light up (Mori Garden) 5:30pm〜11pm

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Mid-April  

Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku

Access:

  • - Near Tokyo Metro Hibiya line [Roppongi Station]
  • - 4 min. walk from Toei-Oedo line [Roppongi Station]
  • - 8 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Nanboku line [Azabu Juban Station]
  • - 5 min. walk from Toei-Oedo line [Azabu Juban Station]

Tel: 03-6406-6000

URL: http://www.roppongihills.com/  


[caption id="attachment_13929" align="aligncenter" width="1223"]Shinjuku Gyoen Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: orangenews.hk Shinjuku Gyoen Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Shinjuku Gyoen [新宿御苑]:

One of the prominent parks in all of Japan, Shinjuku Gyoen is home to an amazing 65 kinds of cherry blossom trees, amounting to 1,300 trees blooming in succession as the months progress from January. Entering the park with alcoholic beverages is prohibited.  

 

Night Viewing: None

Food Stands: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜End of April  

Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Access:

  • - 5 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Narunouchi line [Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station]
  • - 5 min. walk from JR [Sendagaya Station]
  • - 10 min. walk from JR [Shinjuku Station]

Tel: 03-3350-0151

URL: http://www.fng.or.jp/shinjuku/shinjuku-index.html  

 


[caption id="attachment_13928" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Meguro River Cherry Blossom Evening Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: tokyo-trip.org Meguro River Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Meguro River Sakura Namiki [目黒川桜並木]:

Meguro River stretches 4km with cherry blossom trees alongside the river walk, it is a go-to spot during the sakura season. Take advantage of the great photogenic scene from the bridge looking out to the river and trees.  

 

Night Viewing: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April  

Address: (Meguro River Road) Ohashi〜Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Access:

  • - 2 min. walk from Tokyu Toyoko/ Tokyo Metro Hibiya line [Nakameguro Station]
  • - 5 min. walk from JR [Meguro Station]
  • - Near Tokyu Denentoshi line [Ikejiriohashi Station]

Tel: 03-5722-6850  

 


[caption id="attachment_13947" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]Rikugien Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit江戸村のとくぞう
via wikipedia
Rikugien Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Rikugien [六義園]:

The highlight of Rikugien are the two enormous 20 meter cherry blossom trees lit-up at night. Hopefully you have a chance to see it.  

 

Night Viewing: Light up from sunset〜9pm

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Mid-March〜Early April  

Address: 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Access: 2 min. walk from JR [Komagome Station]

Tel: 03-3941-2222  


[caption id="attachment_13938" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Odaiba Seaside Park Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: すがぴー
via amebblo
Odaiba Seaside Park Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Odaiba Seaside Park [お台場海浜公園]:

Only in Odaiba can you view cherry blossom trees and the bay together.  

 

Night Viewing: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Mid-April  

Address: 1 Odaiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo Access: 1 min. walk from Yurikamome [Odaiba Kaihin Koen]

Tel: 03-5531-0852

 


[caption id="attachment_13939" align="aligncenter" width="2048"]Meiji Jingu Gaien Cherry Blossom Tokyo Japan Photo Credit: I'm J.C via flickr Meiji Jingu Gaien Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Meiji jingu Gaien [明治神宮外苑]:

500 cherry blossom trees show off their true beauty along the roadside, and nearby are trendy café’s and restaurants. Have some tea and relax with a magnificent view.  

 

Night Viewing: None

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Late April   Address: 1-1 Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Access: 5 min. walk from JR [Shinanomachi Station]

Tel: 03-3401-0312  

 


[caption id="attachment_13940" align="aligncenter" width="681"]Inokashira Park Cherry Blossom Inokashira Park Cherry Blossom[/caption]

 

Inokashira Onshi Park [井の頭恩賜公園]:  

In the center of the park is a lake with cherry blossoms surrounding it. The flower petals floating on the surface and the reflection of the cherry blossom trees will take your breath away. Taking in the view by a rental boat is brilliant too. 

 

Night Viewing: The garden path is lit-up

Group Party: Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Early April  

Address: 1-chome Mitaka-shi Inokashira 4-chome hoka, Musashino-shi, Gotenyama, Tokyo

Access:

  • - 5 min. walk from JR and Keio Inokashira line [Kichijoji Station]
  • - 1 min. walk from Keio Inokashira line [Inokashira Koen Station]

Tel: 0422-47-6900

URL: http://www.kensetsu.metro.tokyo.jp/seibuk/inokashira/  

 


[caption id="attachment_13941" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Minato Mirai Cherry Blossom Yokohama Japan Photo Credit: millet240 via Photohito Minato Mirai Cherry Blossom[/caption]

Miratomirai 21 Area:  

Cherry blossoms bloom along the streets of Minatomirai 21 area, and in front of Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel. Once night dawns, the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel – one of the symbols of Yokohama at night – is lit-up in cherry blossom colors. It’s a sight for sore eyes, elevating an already romantic spot to a fairytale-like scene.  

 

Night Viewing: Hotel light-up from sunset to 9:30pm

Group Party: Not Permitted

Peak Season: Late March〜Late April  

Address: 1-1-1 Minato Mirai, Yokohama-shi, Nishi-ku, Kanagawa

Access:

  • - 3 min. walk from Tokyu Toyoko line [Minato Mirai Station]
  • - 10 min. boat ride from [Yokohama Station] East Exit Sea Bus stop.

Tel: 045-223-2222

URL: http://www.interconti.co.jp/yokohama/