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(2020 UPDATE) Spectacular Selection of 10 Sakura Viewing Spots in Tokyo

(2020 UPDATE) Spectacular Selection of 10 Sakura Viewing Spots in Tokyo

Date published: 6 March 2020
Last updated: 21 May 2020

Spring in Japan means sakura! Also known as cherry blossoms, these pretty pink petals flood every corner of the streets with a warm glow during blooming season, and visitors from all over the world fly to Japan every spring to catch a glimpse of the dreamy sight they conjure.

The Meteorological Office has announced that the sakura (someiyoshino species) in Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine started blooming from Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2020. This is 12 days earlier than the average starting date, and seven days earlier than last year's, making 2020 the earliest sakura blooming season since records were kept.

If you're visiting Japan in spring, you'll likely want to catch a glimpse of the country's much touted cherry blossoms, so here are 10 places we highly recommend! In order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), some sakura viewing venues may have suspended certain regular activities in 2020. Nevertheless, this list contains popular sites that many speak highly of, so it will be a handy one to save for next year, or any time in the future when you're planning a sakura viewing trip!

*To prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, Tokyo City is urging people to avoid gathering in large numbers for parties, receptions, or any such activities. If, therefore, you intend to admire the sakura during this time, it would be best to do so while on the move, such as during a stroll. Avoid crowds as much as possible, thoroughly educate yourself on cough etiquette, and ensure that you've taken every measure possible to prevent infection of yourself or others around you.

Table of Contents
  1. Ueno Park
  2. Inokashira Park
  3. Rikugien Gardens
  4. Chidorigafuchi Green Way
  5. Sumida Park
  6. Roppongi Hills
  7. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
  8. Meguro River
  9. Yoyogi Park
  10. Mount Takao
  11. Have Your Fill of Sakura Right Here In Tokyo!

Ueno Park

Ueno Park
7maru / Shutterstock.com

Well-known for its glorious view of about 800 blooming sakura trees along its main path since the Edo period (1603 to 1868), Ueno Park sees nearly 300,000 visitors on rest days during peak blooming season. The sakura path here is a hanami (flower appreciation) sanctuary. Every year, it is filled to the brim with guests gathering together to admire the sakura and enjoy some alcoholic beverages together at the same time. Throughout history, this park has always been an popular spot to visit with family or a group of friends.

Salawin Chanthapan / Shutterstock.com

The view here at night is also special. Traditional paper lanterns hanging on the trees are lit up, creating a completely different atmosphere than the one seen and felt during the day. The Ueno Sakura Festival 2020 was scheduled to be held between Friday, March 20 to Sunday, April 12, but has been cancelled to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus. This yearly event is also host to an antique market, flower market, festival orchestras, Japanese lion dancing, monkey shows, and other exciting events. The festival starts from 5:00 a.m. and closes at 11:00 p.m. during the duration. After closing hours, the area is off-limits to the general public.

  • Ueno Park
    • Address Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Ueno Station (Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
      1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3828-5644

Inokashira Park

Inokashira Park

This is one of the foremost sakura viewing spots in Tokyo that also has a spot in Japan's top 100 list. The park's 500 sakura trees can be enjoyed from early March to late April every year. The highlight of the park is the sakura that can be viewed from Nanai Bridge, a bridge that stretches across the scenic Inokashira Pond. What's so special about the sakura from here? The branches of about 250 sakura trees surrounding the pond stretch out towards the center, forming a pretty pink canopy over the body of water, and the beauty of this scene is intensified by the reflection it casts on the water surface. More than 500,000 people throng to the park every year in hopes of catching a glimpse of this incredible sight.

When blooming season is over and the flowers start falling off, almost every inch of the pond will be covered with the sakura's pink petals, which is quite a sight to behold as well. Taking a boat out during this period of time is a unique experience that comes highly recommended by many as well. However, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in 2020, visitors are urged to avoid organizing large receptions or gatherings at the park. Anyone keen on admiring the sakura are encouraged to do so while strolling along the path and avoiding crowded areas as much as possible. Again, cough etiquette is mandatory and ensure that all measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Rikugien Gardens

Rikugien Gardens
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A conspicuous sight in this calm and tranquil garden - classified as one of Japan's Special Places of Scenic Beauty - is a 15 meters (about 50 feet) tall and 20 meters (about 65 feet) wide shidarezakura, or weeping sakura tree. The dainty blossoms seem to fall off the branches like a trickling waterfall, making the large tree look elegant and graceful.

Night sakura viewing is also a popular activity at Rikugien. Records state that the flowers here started blooming from Wednesday, March 11, 2020! Night time illuminations have been scheduled to run from Friday, March 20 to Thursday, April 2. These special lighting make the weeping sakura stand out even more prominently than in the day. Note, however, that event details may have been changed in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a last entry time of 4:30 p.m. During lights-up period, the park will close later at 9:00 p.m., with a last entry time of 8:30 p.m. Have fun viewing cherry blossoms at this impressive garden that has been an iconic sight since the Edo period!

Chidorigafuchi Green Way

Chidorigafuchi Green Way
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Northwest of the Imperial Palace is another popular sakura viewing spot - Chidorigafuchi and the area around it. Some 1,000 sakura trees are planted here. This is where the best pictures of Edo Castle's stone wall structure surrounded by countless cherry blossoms can be taken!

Northwest of the Imperial Palace is another popular sakura viewing spot - Chidorigafuchi and the area around it. Some 1,000 sakura trees are planted here. This is where the best pictures of Edo Castle's stone wall structure surrounded by countless cherry blossoms can be taken!

Every year, illuminations are installed between late March to early April for the Chiyoda Sakura Festival, which is held from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The festival's sakura collaboration with Tokyo Tower is a spectacular view worth making the effort to see at least once in your lifetime! To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, however, the festival has been cancelled for 2020.

Sumida Park

Sumida Park

Here's another flower viewing spot that made it to Japan's top 100. The 1-kilometer (about 0.6 miles) stretch of roads on both sides of Sumida River are also known as sakura avenues, and this is the delightful scene you'll be seeing from aboard a yakatabune (Japanese-style cruise boat) going leisurely down the river. The period to try and catch the best views is between late March to early April.

Phattana Stock / Shutterstock.com

One of the biggest appeals of Sumida Park sakura viewing is that you can capture great shots of beautiful cherry blossoms with the Tokyo Skytree in the background. When night falls and the lights turn on, the sakura start taking on a dreamy aura as they beckon at you from the river bank. Note that the sakura festivals and light-up events in the area have been cancelled in 2020 to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • Sumida Park
    • Address Sumida-ku, Tokyo, 131-0033
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express)
      5 minutes on foot

Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills
Gengorou / Shutterstock.com

The area around Roppongi Hills is known for trendy restaurants, cafes, and shops, but did you know there are two excellent sakura viewing spots here as well? One of it is at Mori Garden, a Japanese-style stroll garden that features a path around a pond. The garden is designed to be reminiscent of a mountain stream, and it is here that you can admire eight sakura trees that have been planted even before the area was developed.

Gengorou / Shutterstock.com

Among the long list of night sakura spots in Japan, gazing at the blossoms from a Japanese-style garden with skyscrapers in the background has got to be one of the more interesting ones! The annual Roppongi Hills Spring Festival offers interesting experience workshops that immerse participants in Japan's traditional culture such as tea ceremony. In 2020, the festival was scheduled to be held on Friday, April 3 to Sunday, April 5, but do bear in mind the event may be postponed or cancelled to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.

Gengorou / Shutterstock.com

The second sakura spot in this area that's on the recommendation list is Roppongi Sakurazaka. About 150 someiyoshino and yaebenishidare sakura trees line the streets of this slope, blooming beautifully when the season is in full swing, and lights will be installed to enhance this view at night as well. These illuminations can be enjoyed from Friday, March 20 to Sunday, April 19 when Midtown Blossom 2020 is in session. Feel free to head down for a different kind of hanami that mixes nature with urban technology with great success!

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
SenSeHi / Shutterstock.com

This spacious garden occupies an area of 58.3 hectares, and there are about 1,100 sakura planted around the 3.5 kilometers (about 2 miles) wide park. There are about 65 species of cherry blossoms here, including well-known ones like someiyoshino, kanzakura, and kasumizakura, so you can expect to see flowers blooming every year from the middle of February all the way to late April. The long duration where cherry blossoms are available for admiration is a highlight of this garden as a sakura viewing spot. During the season, permanent shops in the garden will sell tasty snacks or interesting souvenirs with sakura motifs that are only available during spring - something else other than the flowers to check out during a visit here for sure!

Piti Sirisriro / Shutterstock.com

The garden's well-manicured lawns make it a perfect picnic outing place for the family. Nothing says hanami quite like admiring flowers in full view of the gentle springtime sun! Do take note, however, that visitors are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages or playground equipment into the garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen began offering night time sakura illuminations in the year 2019, and this event is scheduled to take place in 2020 as well. For more information, check out the garden's official website before heading down, and bear in mind that there may be changes to the event in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus.

Meguro River

Meguro River

You may not have heard of its name, but you've probably seen pictures of this place before! This is a sakura avenue consisting of about 800 trees lining the river banks of Meguro River from the Ikejiri Ohashi area to Kamenoko Bridge under the Tokyu Meguro Line. Although there are no parks or gardens facing the sakura avenue directly, tourists can still admire the sights from a comfortable spot in one of the many cafes or restaurants located along the same street.

Cris Foto / Shutterstock.com

As you walk along the river, you may catch sight of places of interest such as Naka-Meguro Park, Ebara Shrine, and Ryusenji from a distance. Naka-Meguro is an area with plenty of fashionable shops, so you may wish to extend your sakura stroll into a shopping stroll to make the best use of your time there! The annual Meguro River Sakura Festival event has been cancelled for 2020 due to the novel coronavirus.

  • Meguro River
    • Address Meguro-ku, Tokyo Setagaya-ku, Shinagawa-ku, 153-0043
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Meguro Station (JR Yamanote Line / Tokyo Metro Namboku Line / Toei Mita Line / Tokyu Meguro Line)
      5 minutes on foot

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park
KanokpolTokumhnerd / Shutterstock.com

Yoyogi Park covers an area of 540,529 square meters (about 5.8 million square feet), with a third of this large space housing a lush and luxuriant forest. Some 700 sakura trees are planted here, including species such as someiyoshino, yamazakura, and kohiganzakura. The best time for cherry blossoms admiration here is historically between mid-February to early-April.

KanokpolTokumhnerd / Shutterstock.com

There's so much greenery here that you would be forgiven for thinking you're no longer in central Tokyo. Kick back and relax as you admire the beautiful cherry blossoms surrounding you from every side. Springtime is not just sakura season - it's new shoots season as well! The beautiful contrast between fresh green budding plants and pale pink blooming sakura is what draws many to this place year after year. To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in 2020, visitors are strongly urged to avoid organizing large gatherings or receptions here. When coming to the park to see the sakura, ensure that all measures to prevent the spread of disease have been taken, practice good cough etiquette, and avoid crowds as much as possible.

Mount Takao

Mount Takao

Michelin Green Guide Japan, a tourism guidebook published by French tiremaker Michelin accords popular hiking spot Mount Takao three stars - the highest rating possible on the guide. One of its hiking trails that starts from the mountaintop and takes trekkers towards Kobotake Shiroyama has sakura blooming every year slightly later than the usual time of mid-April. Cherry blossoms at the foot of the mountain to its peak start blooming at different times due to the difference in elevation.

Yakuo-in, one of the top tourist hotspot in Mount Takao has sakura on its premises as well. From the observatory deck located on the mountainside, visitors can peer out at slopes of gently waving sakura trees surrounded by tall, daunting mountains. If you make it all the way to the mountaintop, you may also catch a glimpse of the distant Mt. Fuji on fair weather days. It's clear why Mount Takao is such an excellent place to scratch that sakura itch!

  • Mt. Takao
    • Address Takaomachi, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, 193-0844
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Takaosanguchi Station (Keio Takao Line)
      5 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 042-661-4151

Have Your Fill of Sakura Right Here In Tokyo!

As you can see, there are so many sakura viewing spots in Tokyo that visitors are spoiled for choice here. No two spots offer the same view, and depending on whether the place is a Japanese-style garden, a park, or located along a river bank, the mood it conveys can be completely different, even if the same species of sakura is being presented! Some places also allow visitors to sightsee popular landmarks like the Skytree or Tokyo Tower at the same time. There's definitely something for everyone here, no matter what your preference may be!

Japan Weather Association announced on March 12 that sakura will start blooming in Tokyo from Friday, March 13 onwards. This is much earlier than the average date based on historical data. In fact , it's the earliest ever recorded! Since sakura only blooms in spring, the two are intricately linked to each other - especially in Japan. If you haven't already had the chance to be impressed by these beautiful blooms, now would be a good time to start making plans for the next season, or perhaps even the next few ones!

Written by: China Nanakusa. English translation by: Huimin Pan

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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