Best Places to see Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) in Tokyo 2024
Japan’s capital, Tokyo has a reputation as one of the country’s buzziest and most futuristic cities. But during the spring season, there's something about Tokyo's atmosphere that takes a bit of a gear shift.
The arrival of sakura (cherry blossoms) in the city marks a change of pace, a slowdown, and an appreciation for the now; the fleeting nature of the blossoms inspires the city to take stock and enjoy the moment. It's a magic time of year and one of the most spectacular times to see the city. Here's what you need to know about making the most of cherry blossom season in Tokyo.
When is cherry blossom season in Tokyo?
Cherry blossom season in Tokyo typically occurs from late March to early or mid-April. Given how seasonally dependent these flowers are, it's always best to check a little closer to your visit, as cooler years tend to bring later flowers and warmer years bring earlier ones.
Are there cherry blossom festivals in Tokyo?
During the spring season, Tokyo is a hotbed of cherry blossom festivities — some just temporary pop-up events, with others running throughout the year. Most of the events happen in the city's public parks, making them an easily accessible option.
Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival
Ueno Park's Cherry Blossom Festival is possibly Tokyo's biggest. It's a vibrant celebration of spring's arrival, drawing locals and tourists alike to revel in the beauty of thousands of cherry trees in full bloom.
The festival typically runs from mid-March to early April and transforms the park into a breathtaking sea of delicate pink blossoms and displays. The festival grounds come alive with an array of food stalls offering delectable Japanese street food, allowing attendees to savor seasonal treats. Cultural performances contribute to the festive atmosphere, providing a deeper connection to Japan's rich heritage.
To see the celebration from a different angle, boat rentals on Shinobazu Pond allow visitors to enjoy the blossoms from on the water. With a blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and culinary delights, Ueno Park's Cherry Blossom Festival is essentially the essence of spring in Tokyo.
Chiyoda City Sakura Festival
Chidori-ga-fuchi right by the Imperial Palace is another top pick for enjoying the soft pink hues of the city. This area is known for its beautiful cherry trees along the Chidori-ga-fuchi Moat. There's a pathway along the moat where you can take a pleasant stroll under the cherry blossoms. Boat rentals are also available for those who want to cruise through the city in a romantic style. For more information on how to book a boat, visit Chiyoda City’s official site. During the Chiyoda City Sakura Festival, which takes place from late March to early April, you can enjoy the illuminated cherry blossoms at night together with other events.
Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival
Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival is held during peak cherry blossom season from late March to early April; this festival transforms the park into a kaleidoscope of delicate pink hues. The festival offers a rich tapestry of experiences, including vibrant food stalls. Festivalgoers engage in the cherished tradition of hanami (cherry blossom viewing), spreading blankets beneath the blossoming trees for picnics and enjoying the charm of the area. Grab a tarp from the local 100 JPY “dollar” store and join the party! Also check out the illuminated cherry blossoms at night, with Tokyo SkyTree in the background.
Great Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Tokyo
Nakameguro, the stylish choice
Nakameguro, a trendy neighborhood in Tokyo, is renowned for its picturesque cherry blossom-lined Meguro River, making it one of the most sought-after spots during the cherry blossom season. The Meguro River is the centerpiece of Nakameguro's hanami experience. Thousands of cherry trees line the riverbanks, creating a stunning tunnel of blossoms. This picturesque setting is perfect for a leisurely stroll, but do be warned; it’s very popular!
The cherry blossoms along the Meguro River are often illuminated in the evenings, transforming the area into a magical and romantic spectacle. The soft glow of the lights enhances the beauty of the blossoms and offers a unique nighttime hanami experience. One of the best ways to enjoy the view is with a drink or dinner at one of Nakameguro's local restaurants. Many of these establishments extend their seating areas to outdoor terraces, providing the perfect vantage point for dinner, hanami, and people-watching.
Yoyogi Park, Tokyo’s backyard
Yoyogi Park transforms into a bustling oasis during Tokyo's cherry blossom season, offering a dynamic and lively hanami experience. Located in Shibuya Ward, this expansive park becomes a prime destination from late March to early April, attracting locals and folks from all over. Yoyogi Park boasts a diverse collection of cherry tree varieties, creating a tapestry of pink hues that carpet the park grounds. The iconic weeping cherry trees and wide-open spaces make it an ideal setting for picnics and outdoor celebrations.
It's a little more casual in approach than some of the city's other parks, but Yoyogi Park's relaxed atmosphere, coupled with the vibrant energy of spring, provides a fun adventure within the heart of Tokyo.
City tranquility, Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen, a park in the center of one of the world's busiest cities, is an unlikely spot for tranquility, but that's the beauty of it.
As spring unfurls its magic, Shinjuku Gyoen becomes a sanctuary of natural beauty in the heart of bustling Shinjuku. The park's diverse collection of cherry trees, including somei-yoshino, shidare-zakura, and early-blooming varieties, offers a prolonged and enchanting hanami experience.
The vast lawns and meandering pathways provide ample space for visitors to engage in traditional hanami picnics beneath the blooming branches. Shinjuku Gyoen's meticulously curated landscape, featuring a teahouse and walking trails, allows for a tranquil escape amid the ephemeral beauty of sakura.
Shinjuku Gyoen is a quintessential destination, inviting everyone to immerse themselves in this urban oasis's fleeting magic of cherry blossoms.
*Please note that there is an entrance fee to get into Shinjuku Gyoen.
Cherry blossom sweets in Tokyo
Tokyo boasts a delectable array of cherry blossom-themed sweets during the spring season, showcasing the culinary creativity inspired by hanami. While Kyoto's offerings may take a more traditional approach, Tokyo gets a little contemporary in its design.
Head to your local convenience store, and there's a good chance you'll be able to score some sakura-flavored Kit Kats. Limited-edition Kit Kat flavors are a trend in Japan and a great souvenir to take home.
Another fun option is sakura lattes, a specialty of Starbucks Japan. It's always a buzzworthy event when the brand drops the year's new blend. For something a little more adult, sakura-infused cocktails can be found in cafes and bars across Tokyo during cherry blossom season. Check out our guide to the best hotel bars in Tokyo; that might be a handy place to start!
Where to stay in Tokyo during cherry blossom season
Given how well connected the city is, choosing where to stay in Tokyo during cherry blossom season largely depends on your preferences, budget, and the atmosphere you desire.
Staying in the Ueno area will grant you easy access to Ueno Park and convenient proximity to the park's festivities. It's also a cultural hub with museums and vibrant street markets. For more information on good places to stay, check out our guide to the neighborhood.
While Shibuya itself may not be a prime cherry blossom-viewing spot, it's centrally located, close to Yoyogi Park, and offers good access to public transit that will link you to other hanami locations. Shibuya is also lively and filled with shopping and entertainment options. Here's our Shibuya guide.
Asakusa is another top choice, known for Senso-ji Temple and Tokyo SkyTree. The cherry blossoms of Sumida Park will also be easily within reach. Asakusa provides a blend of traditional and modern Tokyo. We have a guide to the area here.
Shinjuku takes the unofficial title of being the most vibrant hub in Tokyo. It's also home to the most well-connected train station in Japan. From tranquil parks to boozy late-night haunts, this corner of the city has it all. But be warned, it's not for the faint of heart. We’ve got a guide on it right here.