Finally, it’s cherry blossom season and Tokyo is enchanted by the beauty of the tiny flowers, making the trees look like cotton candy. There are numerous spots throughout the city where you can indulge in the iconic sakura for yourself, but there’s one that is especially magical: Chidorigafuchi.
What is Chidorigafuchi?
It’s easily explained: Chidorigafuchi is the name of a moat northwest of the Imperial Palace. Centuries ago, it was built as an extra layer of protection for the Shogun’s mighty Edo Castle. Today, it has all but shrugged off its martial past and is one of Tokyo’s most iconic spots for cherry blossoms.
The Magic of Cherry Blossoms
But what makes Chidorigafuchi so special? For one, the scenery of old, majestic cherry trees stretching their blossoming arms over the waters of the moat is absolutely breathtaking. Besides that, Chidorigafuchi isn’t a park but a moat, which means that you won’t find any blue tarps on the ground, no one sits around to drink and eat. That’s what makes this place so unique: a slow, tranquil walk beneath the trees. If you take away the snacks and drinks, there’s really nothing left but flowers – Chidorigafuchi forces you focus on the unfiltered beauty of Japan’s cherry blossom, without distraction.
The moat has more in store for you, however. The best way to enjoy Chidorigafuchi’s magic is from the water itself. Rent a little boat and glide along the calm waters, enjoying the famous cherry blossom spot from a wholly new perspective! Some branches hang down so low, they almost touch the water, creating a stunning tunnel of pale pink for you to glide right through.
When to Go for the Best Experience
Chirodigafuchi’s cherry blossoms are best enjoyed at the end of March to early April when the flowers have fully opened. Especially stunning is the view in the early morning sun – the boat pier opens as early as 9:30 a.m. – when the flowers are bathed in a soft, gentle light. Early morning also sees significantly fewer people queueing for boats.
Alternatively, you might want to visit Chidorigafuchi after the sun has set. Then, an almost otherworldly scenery awaits, as the trees are lit up and illuminate the night as if the flowers themselves were millions of tiny lights. With the Tokyo Tower rising above the moat in the distance, it is clear why so many people cannot resist the fairytale-like scenery of Chidorigafuchi.
How to Get There
If you want to indulge in this iconic scenery yourself, take the Hanzomon Line, Tozai Line, or Shinjuku Line to Kudanshita Station. From there, it is a mere 5-minute walk before the first blossoming trees and their 700-meter long promenade come in sight. Alternatively, you can start at Tokyo Station and take a long walk all around the moat of the Imperial Palace – Chidorigafuchi is on the opposite side.
Chidorigafuchi – Right Now
Right now, the enigmatic beauty of Chidorigafuchi is at its absolute peak. The trees’ blossoms have fully opened, coating the scenery in a soft, pale pink. With clear skies and warm temperatures, numerous Tokyoites flock to take a tranquil walk among the cherry blossoms. For a truly unique experience, now is also the perfect time to climb in a rental boat and make a one-of-a-kind Japanese spring memory.
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