Translated by Shinji Takaramura
5 Excellent And Less Crowded Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots In Tokyo
Written by Maki
In Japan, sakura (cherry blossoms) are a beloved symbol of spring. This article introduces five less crowded places to view the cherry blossoms in the Tokyo area at your own pace!
Sakura Viewing for 2021
Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are the symbol of spring in Japan, and many visitors from abroad look forward to seeing these blossoms. But when they are in full bloom from late March to early April, famous sakura viewing spots tend to be crowded, making it difficult to appreciate the cherry blossoms at leisure.
However, there are also spots that are off the beaten path, only known to the local residents. This article introduces some of these wonderful sakura spots in the Tokyo area.
*Please note that in 2021, many cherry blossom festivals may be canceled in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 outbreaks. If you are interested in a particular event, please make sure to check their official website for the latest information.
1. The Walkway along the Meguro River
Cherry trees line the banks of Meguro River near Nakameguro, creating a grand sight each spring. During the sakura season, the streets are filled with cherry blossom viewers.
However, the crowd thins down at the intersection of Meguro River and Yamate-dori, as most people head back to Nakameguro Station, thinking this is where the cherry blossoms end. But if you keep walking, you will find rows of sakura trees near the Ohashi Junction of the Shuto (Metropolitan) Expressway.
Unlike the areas near Nakameguro Station, visitors can leisurely enjoy the sakura on both banks of Meguro River. This spot is easy to access, as the Ikejiri-ohashi Station of the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line is located nearby.
2. A Tree-Lined Street Near Shibuya
Although Shibuya is famous for the Scramble Crossing, it is also a business district. There is a charming street in the area, where rows of shidare-zakura (weeping cherry trees) with deep-pink colored flowers, welcome the pedestrians.
It is a five minute walk from the JR Shibuya Station Shin-Minamiguchi (new south exit) to the Namikibashi Intersection. From there, the street heading towards Ebisu Station is lined up with shidare-zakura.
There are also cherry trees along the Shibuya River located nearby, so visitors can enjoy two kinds of sakura at this spot.
3. Aoyama Cemetery
Some people may be alarmed at the thought of visiting a cemetery, but Aoyama Cemetery is one of the prominent sakura viewing spots in Tokyo.
At the center of the cemetery, a street runs from north to south for 1.7 kilometers. A row of cherry trees, with most of them more than 70 years old, line up along the street.
There are approximately 230 cherry trees in the cemetery, creating an arch of flowers in spring.
Aoyama Cemetery is also famous as the final resting place of Hachiko (the famous Akita dog whose statue is located at Shibuya Station), Ueno Hidesaburo (owner of Hachiko), Hoshi Shin'ichi (novelist) and Mikimoto Kokichi (the founder of Mikimoto, a company specializing in cultured pearls).
4. The Walkway along the Kanda River
JR Iidabashi Station is located near Kanda River. There are rows of cherry trees adorning the riverside. Sotobori Koen (park) is located on the south side of Kanda River, and along with the sidewalk under the row of cherry trees, this area is famous as a sakura viewing spot, although it tends to get crowded during the season.
However, the sidewalk along Sotobori-dori on the north bank of the river is not so crowded, making it a better spot to view the sakura.
The cherry trees loom over the sidewalk.
The JR Chuo Line runs on the other side of the river, so visitors can enjoy the view of the trains along with the cherry blossoms.
5. A Cherry Tree-Lined Street Near Osaki
This spot, near the Meguro River on the east side of the JR Yamanote Line Osaki Station, is known only to the local residents and office workers.
From Osaki Station's Higashi-guchi (east exit), it is a five minute walk to Meguro River. With no sightseeing spots nearby, there aren't many tourists at this spot, so visitors can leisurely view the cherry blossoms.
The sakura trees along the river create a fantastic sight. Occasionally, a boat appears on the river, adding a charming touch to the scenery.
Cherry trees line both sides of the roadway, so the visitors can go through a sakura tunnel when they are in full bloom. This is the least known spot among the five mentioned in this article, so the visitors can enjoy the blossoms to the fullest without having to fight the crowds.
Enjoy Lesser-Known Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo
The five places mentioned above are all out-of-the-way spots. They may be known only to the locals, and an average tourist may not be familiar with them. But all these locations offer a great view of the cherry blossoms, so use the information in this article, and go find your own unique sakura spot.