The Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
As the weather warms up in Tokyo, and you know what that means: cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms, or sakura as they’re known, mark the end of winter. These pink and white buds cover trees all over the country for a fleeting two to three weeks. During this time, coworkers, classmates, families, and friends gather under the blooms to celebrate hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. This image is known all over the world. So, it comes as no surprise that many people want to visit Tokyo during hanami. But where is the best place to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo?
Some people may say Ueno Park or Yoyogi Park. These places are ok but not worth traveling across oceans to see. These parks get super crowded, and you need to go at sunrise to save a decent spot under the cherry blossoms. If you want Instagram-worthy sakura shots, pack these wardrobe staples for springtime in Japan and check out these spots. After living in here for seven years, these are (in my opinion) the best places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo:
Entrance fee: JPY 200
Open hours: 9:00-16:30
Access: Walking distance from Shinjuku Station, Shinjukugyoen Mae Station, and Sendagaya Station
Why it stands out: My fiancé and I went here a little over a week ago to see some of the early bloomers. Shinjuku Park, or Shinjuku Gyoen, is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. The park, which began as a feudal lord’s residence during the Edo Period, is made of three different types of gardens and a greenhouse. During hanami you can see over 12 different varieties of cherry blossom trees, including over 400 somei yoshino trees.
Entrance fee: JPY 300
Open hours: 9:00-17:00
Access: Walking distance from Shiodome Station, Tsukijishijo Station, and Shimbashi Station
Why it stands out: On the southeast side of the city is the lesser known Hamarikyu Gardens. Originally an Edo Period feudal lord’s residence and hunting grounds (notice a pattern?), historical remnants and reconstructions are still on site for visitors to see. If interested in learning about the history, English audio guides are available for free at the entrance gate. While Hamarikyu is usually recommended for its fall momijigari views, its cherry blossoms are nothing less than breathtaking. A visit here and you’ll likely see couples in yukata under the falling blossoms before making your way to the teahouse on the lake. How’s that for memorable?
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden
Entrance fee: JPY 150
Open hours: 9:00-17:00
Access: Walking distance from Hamamatsucho Station and Takeshiba Station
Why it stands out: A short walk from Shiba Rikyu Gardens is this small treasure. Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, which served as a residence for feudal lords and government officials during the Edo Period (of course), is the quintessential Japanese garden. With ponds, hills, and beautifully manicured greenery, this garden will give you all the feels you’re expecting on your Japan trip. Take a stroll over the bridges and relax on a bench under the pink branches of a cherry blossom tree. Enjoy hanami.