Translated by MATCHA
Sakura Spots Around Sumidagawa - Part 2
Written by Kazuyuki Sato
If you'd like to see the cherry blossoms around Sumida river, near historical Asakusa and the ultra-modern Tokyo SkyTree, then this is the route to take! This is the second part to our Sumidagawa adventure.
Here is the second installment of our cycling cherry blossom trip along the Sumidagawa river, one of the most famous rivers in Tokyo. The first half of this article can be found here.
From Azumabashi Bridge to Sumidagawa Ohashi Bridge
In reality, there aren’t that many sakura spots to see that are directly on the river itself, but being able to walk or cycle along the riverside and enjoy the fresh air as you head to different cherry blossom spots is a lot of fun. There are many small garden spots, and the views along the other side of the river are sure to keep you entertained.
From Azumabashi Bridge and Sumidagawa Ohashi Bridge, you won’t actually see that many sakura on the riverside, however if you take a short walk, there are plenty of hidden sakura spots to visit. The photo above was snapped by the author as they wandered through the Morishita area and happened upon these cherry trees.
Everywhere you look in this region you will find old downtown atmosphere, known as ‘shitamachi’ in Japanese. This is a rather nostalgic region for many Japanese people, and reminds them of their grandparents heyday.
Spot 4: Ecchujima Park
Our first proper stop in this second half of our journey is Ecchujima Park, which is located on the Harumi canal of the Sumidagawa river. Of all the spots visited so far, the Japanese author recommends this one the most because there are fewer people here, which gives this spot a calm, quiet air that makes it easy to relax in and truly enjoy the sakura.
Spot 5: Ishikawajima Park
The Tsukuda-nichome area sits on a man-made island called Ishikawajima, which lies between Sumidagawa and the Harumi canal. A former heavy industry site, this island is now home to many high rise apartments and is called Okawabata River City 21.
Here you can see the high rise apartments from the Nagayobashi Bridge. The night views from this spot, with the lights reflecting on the river’s surface are stunning.
And here you can see the vast numbers of cherry blossom trees that grow about the apartment buildings in the area.
As this island was cleaned and restructured into a residential area, you will see many families and children playing outside here in the warmer weather, especially towards the north end of the island, where Sumidagawa splits into the river proper and Harumi canal.
Spot 6: Nishi-Nakabashi Area
Once you’ve passed by Ishikawajima Park and headed to the other side of Chuo Ohashi Bridge, it’s time to take a short break from the Sumidagawa area, and visit Tsukishima island. As you enter the island from the north, you will want to head along the large roadway that runs to the southwest. After a short distance, you will arrive at a bridge, from which you will see a floodgate. If you have come to the floodgate, you’re almost there. Walk towards this gate, and when you reach the bridge here, you will be able to see beautiful sakura trees running along both sides of the river, with the gate in the foreground
Spot 7: Upstream from Kachidoki Bashi Bridge
View of Kachidoki Bashi bridge from the north west of the bridge.
Finally, we have arrived at the last bridge that spans Sumidagawa river: the Kachidoki Bashi bridge. As you can see, it is a bit different from the others in the area. In the past, this bridge was actually a drawbridge, with the sides raising up from the middle to allow for the passage of boats. It is no longer used for this function, but the bridge itself has been designated at one of Japan’s Important National properties.
This spot, which is actually quite close to Tsukiji Fish Market, you can also enjoy some relatively peaceful cherry blossom viewing; this spot is only a three minute walk from the west side of the bridge. As it stands between two commercial buildings, it isn’t the best place to stop and have a hanami, but it is a nice place to take a walk.
Spot 8: Akashimachi Riverside Park
And we have come to our final stop in our Sumidagawa Sakura trip. This is the Akashimachi riverside park, which is located about a six minute walk to the north from our previous spot. The tall building you can see here is St. Luke’s Garden, an office building that was once used by Japan’s advertising giant Dentsu.
Time for a Break!
Now that the tour is over, what did you think? Did you enjoy seeing the old town atmosphere and cherry blossoms all along the Sumidagawa area?
There were simply too many places for the Japanese author to fully introduce them all, even in two articles. But one place they especially wanted to point out is Mile Post Cafe, which is close to Nagayobashi Bridge. This cafe is located on the second floor of the building, while the first floor is a bike shop.
From the window seats in this cafe, you can sit and enjoy the views across the Nagayobashi Bridge, as well as of Sumidagawa river itself. This is a great place to take a break on days with clear skies, as the views are amazing. The food and drinks are great too, so if you are in the area and find yourself wanting to take a break, then please stop here.
The Sumidagawa river area is a wonderful place where you can not only enjoy seasonal sights like the sakura, but also see different parts of Japanese history from the Edo era onwards. Please rent a bike at one of the places we mentioned and use these articles as your guide to finding some hidden sakura spots in Tokyo. You won't regret it!
Mile Post Cafe
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Shinkawa 1-20-6
Hours: 11:30-22:00 (last food order 21:00, last drinks order 21:30)
Closed: At 21:00 on Sundays/holidays, fully closed on Wednesdays
Nearest Station: Kayabacho Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai, Hibiya lines)
Access: 8 minute walk from Exit 4B
Prices: 1000-4000 yen
Phone Number: 03-5542-7072
Website: Mile Post Cafe (Japanese)