Amongst Tokyo’s many claims to fame, cherry blossom season (hanami) is high up on people’s bucket-lists as a must-see when in Tokyo. Every year, you can feel the excitement as the pink petals known as sakura fill the city in a picture-perfect welcome to spring and parks fill with revellers armed with tarps, blankets, bento, beer and sake to enjoy cherry blossom viewing season.
Despite being a huge city, Tokyo is full of beautiful hanami spots. Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip to see these fleeting beauties.
When to go?
Although exact peak bloom dates known as mankai change each year due to weather patterns, Tokyo reliably turns pink between early March and late April. A quick search on the Internet will help you find this year’s cherry blossom flower forecast.
How long does the Cherry Blossom Festival last in Japan?
The cherry blossom season is relatively short. Full bloom is usually reached within about one week after the opening of the first blossoms (kaika). Another week later, the blooming peak is over and the blossoms are falling from the trees. Strong wind and rain can cut the blooming season even shorter.
Where are the best hanami spots in Tokyo?
Among the dozens of places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, we have three favourites:
One of Tokyo’s most beautiful gardens with a pond in the middle is a popular place for hanami. It can get crowded, but it’s well worth it. There is a small entrance fee, and sake and beer have been known to be confiscated at the gate.
For one of the best views head to Chidorigafuchi, a moat on the northwest side of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace. Here you’ll enjoy a less crowded spot which is loved by locals. Although it’s not the best choice for a picnic, you can rent a boat and float down the waterway framed by branches covered in blossoms.
A great spot for budding photographers as the bright flowers pop against the Tokyo Skytree tower in the background. Visit the riverside park after dark to see the trees illuminated by lanterns.
This post has been sponsored by Tokyo Metro Gov, but all thoughts are our own.