MATCHA's English language editorial board. We are bringing you the latest travel information on Japan. Yoroshiku!
The cherry blossoms in Tokyo start blooming around the end of March, coming into full bloom near the beginning of April. We introduce here great spots all around Tokyo where you can enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms at their very best in 2018.
MATCHA's English language editorial board. We are bringing you the latest travel information on Japan. Yoroshiku!
Written by MATCHA
The cherry blossoms in Tokyo start blooming around the end of March and come into full bloom at the beginning of April.
The best time to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo is around the first week of April. From the second week of April, the blossoms begin to scatter, leaving behind sprouts on the cherry trees with the most beautiful time of the season having passed.
If you’re coming to see the cherry trees in Tokyo, we recommend getting to Japan by the very beginning of April.
Depending on the type of sakura tree, you may be able to see cherry blossoms that bloom earlier or later than the beginning of April.
For example, Kawazu-zakura is a type of cherry blossom that can be viewed as early as mid-February until around mid-March. This type of cherry blossom is native to Kawazu, an area in Shizuoka prefecture.
On the other hand, if you visit Japan later than the beginning of April, you may be able to catch the Yae-zakura, a layered type of cherry blossom that blooms a week or two after the regular sakura.
In this article, we’ll be introducing the best places to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, an activity called hanami, so if you plan on visiting Japan in the springtime make sure you keep this guide handy.
1. 15 Amazing Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Tokyo
2. Weather and Appropriate Clothing during Cherry Blossom Season
3. Manners during Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties
4. Tips for Enjoying a Spring Trip in Tokyo
When one thinks of Tokyo, the image of rows upon rows of tall buildings may come to mind, but there are plenty of places where you can set down a tarp and enjoy a picnic under the pink cherry blossoms.
Image provided by: Ministry of Environment, Shinjuku Gyoen Management Office
Located in the heart of the city, Shinjuku Gyoen is a large park where one can relax and take in the sights of the beautiful cherry blossoms. The park prides itself on having over 65 types and over 1,100 different cherry trees. The closest stations to this park are Shinjuku Station and Yoyogi Hachiman Station. The park is also quite beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color, making Shinjuku Gyoen an oasis for weary Tokyoites year round.
Entrance Fee: Regular 200 yen; Junior High and Elementary School Students 50 yen; Infants free
Address: Tokyo, Shinjuku, Naitomachi 11
Website: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Japanese)
Picture from Yoyogi Park: Harajuku's Secret Sanctuary
Thousands of visitors come every year to enjoy hanami at Yoyogi Park. With around 500 trees, primarily of the Somei Yoshino variety, visitors can come and purchase snacks like yakisoba at stalls or catering carts set up throughout the park and many people also bring their own food and alcohol to enjoy in the shade of the trees.
During the cherry season, the lines for the public bathrooms become quite long, so either make sure you find a toilet near the park that you can scurry off to or keep the libation imbibing to a minimum.
The closest stations for Yoyogi Park are JR Harajuku Station, Yoyogi Koen Station on the Chiyoda Metro Line, and the Meiji Jingumae (Harajuku) Station on the Chiyoda Metro and Fukutoshin Lines.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Yoyogikamizonocho 2-1
Website: Yoyogi Park
Shibuya and Meguro are also home to beautiful cherry trees. That said, finding a spot to set up a picnic can be a little difficult, so be careful if you’re going to be having your hanami party here.
Meguro River is flanked by around 800 cherry trees on both sides, stretching for about 3.8 km. At night, lanterns are lit, making for a very atmospheric hanami experience.
Like in Shinjuku Gyoen and Yoyogi Park, it’s a little difficult to find a nice plot to set your tarp down, but the blossoms are just as beautiful if you want to simply take a stroll down by the river. The closest stations for Meguro River are JR Meguro Station and Meguro Station on the Toyoko Line.
This cemetery located in Tokyo’s Minato Ward is a great place to take a walk while viewing the gorgeous cherry blossoms. However, unlike other hanami spots, visitors are not permitted to lay down tarps and imbibe alcohol in the cemetery. Also, the cemetery is closed at night, so if you plan on visiting, make sure to come during the day.
Address: Tokyo, Minato, Minami-Aoyama 2-32-2
Website: Aoyama Cemetery (Japanese)
Chidorigafuchi, a road which runs along the west side of the Imperial Palace, is home to an assortment of cherry trees that truly speak to the Japanese spirit, with the trees accented by the freshly sprung greenery and the palace’s moat. Though there are a number of skyscrapers located in the distance, these shouldn’t detract from the cherry blossom viewing experience. The area is also lit up at night, transforming the area’s beauty.
Address: 5-minute walk from Exit 5 at Hanzomon Subway Station or Exit 2 at Kudanshita Subway Station
Website: Chidorigafuchi (Japanese)
For more information, see our article: Experience The Stunning Sakura At Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo
Located close to Tokyo Station, the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Kokyo Higashi Gyoen) are home to 200 cherry trees. With historical ruins and a free museum displaying precious works of art, this is a great place for visitors interested in Japanese history and culture to check out after a walk under the blooming cherry blossoms.
Address: Chiyoda ward, Tokyo
Website: East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Japanese)
Built at the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868), Koishikawa Korakuen Garden is one of Tokyo's two large Japanese gardens, along with Rikugien Garden. As visitors are not allowed to put down tarps or host picnics, viewing cherry trees here is limited to a walking tour. The closest station to the garden is Iidabashi Station on the Oedo Line.
Entrance Fee: Adults 300 yen; Children free
Address: Tokyo, Bunkyo, Koraku 1-6-6
Website: Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
Also built during the Edo period, the Hamarikyu Gardens have been designated a special historic and aesthetic landmark. If you find yourself in the Shimbashi or Ginza area and want to check out the cherry blossoms, we recommend hitting Hamarikyu Gardens, a vast garden with around 100 cherry trees where one can forget all the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Entrance Fee: Regular 300 yen; Seniors (65 and older) 150 yen; Elementary School Students free; Junior High School Age Tokyo Residents free; Groups of 20 or more 240 yen per person; Groups of 20 or more (seniors citizens) 120 yen per person
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Hamarikyuteien 1-1
Website: Hamarikyu Gardens
Shiba Park, located at the foot of Tokyo Tower, has around 200 cherry trees and is a great place to engage in hanami with the bright orange symbol of Tokyo jutting up in the background. Areas around the Maruyama Fountain and Benten Pond, located within the park, are especially popular sites for hanami.
Address: Tokyo, Minato ward, Shibakoen
No article on cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo would be complete without Ueno Park. During the hanami season, the park is visited by thousands of families, company workers, and students all looking to take in the beautiful pink blossoms. Since the park can get crowded during this time of year, we recommend meeting up with your party at Ueno Station rather than in the park itself.
For more information on Ueno Park, see our article: Ueno Park Guide: Ueno Zoo, Museums, Temples and Other Highlights!
Address: Tokyo, Taito ward, Ueno Park / Tokyo, Taito ward, Ikenohata 3
Website: Ueno Park
Located a short walk away from Asakusa Station is Sumida Park along the Sumida River, renowned as an excellent cherry blossom viewing spot.
Though strolling along the river, viewing the gorgeous cherry trees as their blossoms scatter into the Sumida River is a sight to behold in its own right, we also recommend chartering a pleasure boat where you can view the trees from the river itself. Tokyo Skytree is also close by, affording a view of both the old and the new.
Address: Tokyo, Sumida ward, Mukojima 1, 2, 5-chome
Along with Koishikawa Korakuen, Rikugien Garden is one of the big two Japanese-style gardens that can be enjoyed in Tokyo. The gardens are beautiful year round, but especially striking in the springtime when the drooping cherry trees come into bloom. With the garden bathed in pink throughout the day, once the sun sets they are lit up, bringing about a whole new beauty to the blossoming buds.
Address: Tokyo, Bunkyo Ward, Honkomagome 6
Entrance Fee: Regular 300 yen; Seniors (65 and older) 150 yen; Elementary School Students free; Junior High School Age Tokyo Residents free
Also located in the northern part of Tokyo, Asukayama Park in Oji, Kita Ward, is a place famous for its cherry blossoms, having captivated the Japanese people for the past 300 years. Visiting the park when all 650 of the park’s gorgeous cherry trees are in bloom is a sight to behold.
At Inokashira Park, located a short walk from Kichijoji Station, visitors can enjoy the cherry blossoms from the park or from a paddle boat in the park’s lake.
The park’s 500 cherry trees in bloom is simply amazing, drawing in tons of families and couples from around the city. The park’s pond is especially beautiful as it reflects the ocean of pink surrounding it.
Address: Tokyo, Musashino, Gotenyama 1-18-31
Website: Inokashira Park
Koganei Park is home to the largest number of cherry trees in the city, coming in at around 1,700 with over 50 different varieties. At the festival held on the first Saturday and Sunday in April, visitors can enjoy events featuring traditional performing arts, Japanese dancing, ikebana, and tea houses.
Address: Tokyo, Koganei, Sekinocho 1-13-1
Located in Tachikawa, the Showa Memorial Park is roughly 40 times the size of Tokyo Dome! With 1,500 cherry trees, this is an excellent spot for hanami, especially the Sakura no Sono area of the park. Bring your tarp, some food and drinks, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon under the blossoms.
For more information on Showa Memorial Park, see our article: The Allure of Seasonal Flowers! Showa Memorial Park is a Spot for All Ages! (Japanese only).
Entrance: Adults 410 yen; Children 80 yen; Seniors (65 and older) 210 yen
Address: Tokyo, Tachikawa, Midoricho 3173
Website: Showa Memorial Park
From the end of March to the beginning of April, it gets to be around 10℃ in Tokyo, a little chilly to say the least.
While you don’t need a thick winter coat, you’ll definitely need a jacket. Still, once the sun goes down the temperature drops considerably, so be sure to pack accordingly if you plan to be out late.
For more information, see our article: Spring in Japan: Traveling, Clothing and Weather in March-May
Picture from Hanami - How To Enjoy Cherry Blossom Viewing
A lot of people come out to view the cherry blossoms every year, so it’s important to mind your manners when picking out a spot for your picnic and when throwing away your garbage so that everyone can enjoy their time outside together!
The typical way that people set their spot for hanami is to lay out a tarp. However, one thing to keep in mind when doing this is don’t take any more space than you’ll need. If you end up taking too much space, then other people won’t be able to enjoy the flowers!
Also, somebody needs to stay behind after you set down your tarp. If not, security guards may come by and throw away your stuff, so make sure to leave someone behind to hold your spot.
Also, even if you get your spot, the wind can easily blow your tarp away, so use some nearby stones to keep the tarp from being blown away. Please don’t stick pegs into the ground or into tree roots!
Though this differs from place to place and day to day, there are people who may get there first thing in the morning or even the night before to claim their spot for their picnic. Though this may be difficult for guests visiting from out of town, it’s usually a good idea to try and get your spot as early as possible.
Areas of the city with cherry trees are usually located in parks or along rivers, meaning that the majority of them are located in public spaces. Still, local municipalities are typically conscious of hanami season and set up places for people to throw away their trash, so don’t be a litterbug!
Just like with convenience stores and regular trash pickups, these trash boxes will be separated into different types of garbage for recycling, so make sure to abide by the signs and put trash in its proper place. The picture here shows the trash can area at Ueno Park during the Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival, March 21 through April 13, 2014). Typically, trash is separated into the following categories: combustible, non-combustible, glass bottles and metal cans.
Please make sure to put trash in its proper place.
For more information, see our articles: 15 Items To Make Your Hanami Great!, Clean Up The Right Way: Dealing With Trash After A Hanami, and Finding The Perfect Spot: Saving A Hanami Site
In Japan, the cherry blossom season is a great occasion for people to gather and have fun eating and drinking at a picnic under the cherry trees. If you visit Japan at this time of the year, join the party!
Please keep in mind the manners mentioned above, look for a great place to see the cherry blossoms and enjoy your time.
Please find other tips and information to help you enjoy your trip to Japan below.
To check the weather and appropriate clothing for the season, please take a look at this article: Spring In Japan: Traveling, Clothing And Weather In March-May
If you want to exchange currency, then we recommend either visiting a bank and exchanging there or using an ATM at a 7-Eleven convenience store.
When you're out of cash, look for an ATM with the "PLUS" stamp.
If you're staying at a hotel, it helps to know a little of the local lingo. Here are some handy Japanese phrases.
A nifty Wi-Fi service for tourists coming from abroad: Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi. Start by getting the app.