Feb 24, 2017

The best places for cherry blossom & 'hanami' in and around Tokyo




It is now nice and warm in the day (although still extra chilly in the evenings).  The winds are up and sometimes a little out of hand.  Perfect indicators then that spring is here.  Plum blossoms and early sakura are already blooming, setting a path to the major hanami season that many seem so proud of in Japan.  Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is such a big deal, the Japan Meteorological Corporation has a very precise forecast as to when the flowers are expected to bloom across Japan.


In regards to the cherry blossom in Tokyo for 2017, forecasts report that the first sakura may blossom on March 22nd (4 days earlier than average but a day later than last year).  Full cherry blossom bloom is expected to be on or around March 31st for 2017.   The hanami season is expected to finish early April but that is not the end of sakura blossoms in their entirety.  There is, in fact, a variety of sakura that bloom at different times during the year in Japan


When people speak of 'hanami', however, they are usually talking about the most ubiquitous type of sakura, the Somei Yoshino, a 5-petal, white to pale pink blossom, with leaves only appearing after full bloom.  


Whether you are planning to wow your friends and family from overseas, to enjoy the season with your Japan-based friends, or just spend quality time alone with the flowers, this comprehensive guide will help you to plan your hanami party, tours, and solace in and around Tokyo!






Shinjuku Gyoen 


Entrance200 yen
Hours9am - 4.30pm
Nearest stationShinjuku Gyoen
Size144 acres
No. of cherry trees1500 including both early and late bloomers
Why hereThe garden with the longest blooming season in Tokyo, hanami season can last until end of April.



Ueno Park 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationUeno
Size133 acres
No. of cherry trees1000
Why hereMassive hanami parties until the late hours (although get here early for the best spots).



Meguro River 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationMeguro, Nakameguro
No. of cherry trees800
Why here

Not really a hanami party site but a really nice stroll under the canopy. Night time

viewing is illuminated by pink and white lanterns bearing the names of sponsors.  Has the feel of

a matsuri, with food and drink stalls along the river.



Yoyogi Park


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationsHarajuku, Yoyogi koen, Meiji Jingumae
Size134 acres
Number of cherry trees600
Why hereHanami party central.  Like a rock concert with petals!



Inokashira Park 


Entrance feeFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationKichijoji
Size95 acres
No. of cherry trees1000
Why here

Lots of students from the neighboring universities. Boat rides are the best way

to enjoy the blossoms that line the lake.



Koganei Park



Entrance feeFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationMusashi Koganei
Size196 acres
Number of cherry trees1700
Why hereLargest park in Tokyo offering hanami on the wide lawns.




Sumida River Park


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationAsakusa
No. of cherry trees

1000

Why hereFantastic photo opportunity with Skytree as a backdrop and highly recommended

river cruises to view the blossoms on the riverside.



Koishikawa Kōrakuen 



Entrance300 yen
Hours9am - 5pm
Nearest stationIidabashi
Why here

Oldest and best(?) Japanese garden in Tokyo. Built in 1629, this garden is highly influenced

by the West Lake in China. A meticulously curated site where one can enjoy its most famous weeping sakura.




Roppongi (Sakurazaka behind Roppongi Hills) 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationRoppongi
No. of cherry trees

75

Why hereAmazing night illumination.



Roppongi Midtown


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock (illuminations until 11.30pm)
Nearest stationRoppongi
LocationStreet behind Midtown Tokyo
No. of cherry trees150
Why here

Classic photo opportunity with Tokyo Tower in the background. Blossom lounge to sip Rose

champagne while admiring the flowers. Book a restaurant with terrace seating next to the cherry trees.




Aoyama Cemetry 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationGaienmae
No. of cherry treesSeveral hundred
Why hereSerene, nice stroll, just you and the flowers.



Imperial Palace 


LocationsChidorigafuchi Moat, East Garden, Koukyo (Inui Dori)
EntranceFree
Hours9am - 5pm, Iuni Dori is only opened for 8 days during full bloom
No. of cherry treesFew hundred
Nearest stationOtemachi
Why hereNo hanami parties but a view fit for royalty.






Yasukuni Shrine


EntranceFree
Hours6am - 6pm
Nearest stationIchigaya, Kudanbashi, Iidabashi
No. of cherry trees600
Why hereNo parties but a sakura festival with the attendance of over 200 sumo wrestlers.




Rikugi-en



Entrance300 yen
Hours9am - 5pm
Nearest stationKomagome
Why here

An Edo period walking garden built in 1695, one of the nicest Japanese landscape gardens

in Tokyo. Also arguably the best evening sakura illumination in Tokyo.



Shiba Koen 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationShiba koen
Size30 acres
No. of cherry treesAround 70
Why hereRight next to Tokyo Tower and one of the most happening hanami party spots in Tokyo.



Komazawa Olympic Park 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationKomazawa Daigaku
No. of cherry treesAround 100
Why hereReasonably large park with a gathering of students from Komazawa University.



Hamarikyu Garden


Entrance300 yen
Hours9am - 4.30pm
Nearest stationShiodome
Why here

Edo style landscaped garden with a back drop of Shiodome's commercial buildings,

and a spectacular evening illumination.



Kitanomaru Park 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationKudsnshita, Takebashi
Size 700 meter walk
No. of cherry trees260
Why here

Though a lesser view than the Chidorigafuchi side of things, Kitanomaru offers more space for hanami parties.



Hibiya Park 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationsHibiya, Yurakucho, Kasasigaseki
Size40 acres
No. of cherry treesSprinkled around the park
Why here

Sandwiched between the Imperial Palace and the Imperial Hotel, this is one of the oldest parks,

surrounding a gothic historic building. Not a major hanami party spot but a nice relief in the midst of urban landscapes.



Kinuta Park 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationsYōga 
Size96 acres
No. of cherry treesPark dotted by large sakura trees
Why hereWell kept secret of the Yōga Station area.  Less crowded hanami parties under the canopy.






Cherry blossom and hanami spots further out from central Tokyo ...




Ōmiya Koen 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationŌmiya, Ōmiya-kōen 
Size167 acre
No. of cherry tree1200
Why here

The most loved park by residents of Ōmiya with a nice evening illumination

during hanami season.



Kitazawagawa Path


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Size4.2km path cutting through most of Setagaya ku
Why here

A very long pathway over a defunct river, lined with sakura trees with 15 spots for hanami

picnics or parties.



Asukayama Park 


EntranceFree
HoursRound the clock
Nearest stationŌji
No. of cherry treesAround 600
Why here

18th century Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune, decided that there should be a park for public enjoyment, so he started planting a lot of cherry trees in the hope of creating a scenic location for his people. Now, it is the oldest, and perhaps most famous hanami spot in Tokyo, with a spectacular illumination.



Showa Kinen Koen



Entrance410 yen
Hours9.30am - 5pm
Nearest stationTachikawa, Nishi Tachikawa
SizeLargest park in Tokyo
No. of cherry trees1500
Why hereRound 2 of the hanami season in Tokyo as the blossoms bloom much later than central spots.




Takao San (Mt. Takao)


EntranceFree
Nearest stationTakao, Takaosanguchi
Why here

Takaosan Senbouzakura, literally translated as Mt. Takao thousand cherry trees.

Spectacular view of Mount Fuji framed by sakura blossoms. Hanami season is later than central Tokyo.



Happo-en 


EntranceFree
Hours10am - 8.30pm
Nearest stationShirokanedai
Why hereNicely landscaped Edo garden dotted with cherry trees. An oasis in the middle of the city.



Yanaka Cemetery


EntranceFree
Hours8.30am - 5.15pm
Nearest stationNippori
Why here

Main path lined with cherry trees, a.k.a Cherry Blossom Avenue. Nice picnic ground

enjoyed by locals.




How have you planned your hanami season for Tokyo 2017?  Share your itineraries and what you think are the best places to see cherry blossom!





See us on:

Twitter : @City_Cost_Japan 

Facebook: @citycostjapan

YouTube



Reference:

Japan Meteorological Corporation

City-Cost

City-Cost

A Q&A and blogging community about life in Japan (plus a load of life-in-Japan stats!). Get your questions answered, share your experience! | Inquiry -> KyodoNewsDigital International Media | Tokyo, Japan | +81 3 6252 6402


0 Comments