During the spring, Japan is well-known for the sakura, meaning cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms symbolize so much in Japan, from the way clouds look to the “Japanese spirit”. Japanese cherry blossoms have been used in manga, anime, films, and art; they are always representing something within the story. Hanami, meaning flower viewing started in the Nara period (710–794), at first the event was only for the Imperial Court. Hanami soon spread to the samurai class during the Edo period and then to all the common people. To encourage more hanami, Yoshimune Tokugawa planted designated areas of cherry blossom trees. Hanami then and now is people celebrating cherry blossoms, friendship, and drinking.
#1. Meguro River – Tokyo
The Meguro River (Megurogawa) is lined with over 830 sakura trees, most of them are Yoshino Cherry trees. The trees along the riverside creating an amazing sight during the day and night. The riverside turns pink from Ikejiriohashi to Meguro, which is about 3.2 km in distance, and becomes a sakura promenade.
Since it is great location for people living in Tokyo and Yokohama, many people have hanami parties here at night especially on Friday after they work. It is one of the most famous and most popular hanami spots in Tokyo. The pathway along the river is illuminated at night so its a must visit spot when in Tokyo during cherry blossom season.
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Sakura along Meguro River
Address: 2-2 Naka-Meguro River, Meguro Ward, Tokyo
11 minute walk from Naka-Meguro Station
15 minute walk from Meguro Station
Phone: 03-5722-9621 (Meguro Ward Office)
Website: Sakura along Meguro River (Japanese)
#2. Shinjuku Gyoen – Tokyo
Situated to the southeast end of the Shinjuku distrcit, Shinjuku Gyoen offers a stark contrast to the neon lights of the world famous Kabukicho district. Originally the site of Lord Naito in the Edo period, Shinjuku Gyoen was completed in 1906 and sits on 144 acres of land making it a spacious and historical site for hanami events.
Alongside the beautiful natural scenery, visitors can also view the massive skyscrapers that peak out of the trees giving them a truly amazing glimpse of how Japan flawlessly blends nature with the big city.
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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
Access: 5 minute walk from Shinjuku Station South Exit
Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Gates close at 4:30 PM)
Admission Fee: 200 yen
Website: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
#3. Rikugien Garden – Tokyo
Rikugien Garden is well known for its beautiful garden display. The paths are built flat and comfortable to walk on, which makes for great strolls. But during the spring season, cherry blossom bloom beautifully throughout the park, making it one of Tokyo best cherry blossom viewing spots.
Rikugien Garden has many spots to see cherry blossoms. Specifically, there are weeping cherry trees nearby the main gate which is a popular spot. At night Rikugien Garden is beautifully illuminated and glows pink under the cherry blossom trees. This is an annul event happens every spring season to celebrate the blooming of the cherry blossoms. The park is open until 9:00 PM, which is great for those who want to do Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) after work.
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Address: 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
9 minute walk from Sengoku Station
8 minute walk from Komagome Station
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
300 yen (Adult)
150 yen (Senior)
Website: Rikugien Garden (Japanese)
#4. Roppongi – Tokyo
Roppongi is a sophisticated area with the latest fashion trends and many people from around the world want to stay in this convenient location. The 4,300 square meter garden has a pond, a waterfall, a mountain stream, a river, and trees. With the cherry blossoms and ginkgo trees, you can see the garden change every season.
Both Mouri Teien and Roppongi Hills Sakurazaka will be illuminated during cherry blossom season. Cherry blossom trees at Mouri Teien are usually illuminated from 5:30 PM to 11:00 PM and Roppongi Hills Sakurazaka is illuminated from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM. There are no festivals in this area, but there are many fancy restaurants serving Japanese food and international food. Have a delicious meal in this stylish area of Tokyo while admiring the cherry blossoms.
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Address: 6-10 Roppongi, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 8 minute walk from Roppongi Station
Phone: 03-6406-6000 (Roppongi Hills Information Desk)
Website: Roppongi Hills
#5. Inokashira Park – Tokyo
Inokashira Park is a 286,000 square meter park located in Musashino City, Tokyo. Near the extremely popular weird and retro Kichijoji, Inokashira Park is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing. In total there is about 500 cherry blossom trees, around 250 trees surround the main pond, so it’s a popular spot during spring. The view from Nanai Bridge in the park is also a great spot to take photos of the cherry blossoms.
The contrast of colors created by the cherry blossoms and the pond is one of the reasons Inokashira Park was chosen as one of the “100 Best Sakura Viewing Points in Japan” by the Nihon Sakura no Kai Foundation. At Inokashira Park there is a small shrine dedicated to Benzaiten, a zoo, and a small aquarium. Benzaiten is the goddess of love, but she can have a jealous streak and hates seeing all of the lovey-dovey couples in the park that is dedicated to her. Riding the swan boats across the lake is a popular activity among couples but there is a risk. It is said that couples who ride of the swan boats are doomed to break up. [map lat=”35.699744″ lng=”139.573191″][/map]
Address: 1-18-31 Gotenyama, Musashino City, Tokyo
Access: 5 minute walk from Kichijoji Station
Phone: 0422-47-6900 (Inokashira Park Information Center)
Website: Inokashira Park (Japanese, The Bureau of Construction, Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
#6. Ueno Park – Tokyo
During cherry blossom season, Ueno Park is one of Tokyo’s most popular spot for outdoor hanami or flower viewing parties. Approximately 1,200 cherry trees will flourish with magical pink flowers at this 133 acre park. An estimated two million people will visit to experience hanami while having a picnic party under the cherry blossom trees. There is a variety of cherry blossom trees at Ueno Park, with the most common being Somei Yoshino cherry blossom trees.
The Ueno Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) is scheduled around March 20th to April 8th. Dates could change depending on when the flowers bloom. During the festival, 1,000 lanterns, which originated from the need for light at night, illuminates the park and invite people to celebrate the arrival of spring under the night sky. The street leading towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond will be covered with cherry blossom petals.
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Address: Ueno-Koen, Taito Ward, Tokyo
2 minute walk from Ueno Station
5 minute walk from Ueno-Okachimachi Station
1 minute walk from Keisei-Ueno Station
Hours: 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Website: Ueno Park
#7. Odawara Joshi Park – Kanagawa
Odawara Joshi Park is a historic and interesting sightseeing spot in the Kanagawa prefecture, but it is more attractive when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Walking down the streets covered with fluttering cherry blossoms petals is so romantic. The castle tower and moat are encircled by about 320 cherry blossom trees and it makes the castle colorful in the spring. Odawara Joshi Park was also chosen as one of the “100 Best Sakura Viewing Points in Japan” by the Nihon Sakura no Kai Foundation.
About 330,000 visitors come to see the great scenery. The scenery of cherry blossoms petals fluttering is breathtakingly beautiful. Odawara Joshi Park is illuminated from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM during the cherry blossom viewing season. Illuminated Odawara Castle emerges out of the darkness, it is extremely beautiful against the night sky and it feels like you have traveled back to the Edo period.
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Odawara Joshi Park
Address: 3 Jonai, Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 10 minute walk from Odawara Station
Website: Odawara Joshi Park (Japanese)
#8. Mitsuike Park – Kanagawa
Mitsuike Park, meaning “three ponds park” is a park covering 29.7 hectares in the Tsurumi area of Yokohama. Mitsuike Park is one of the very popular parks for local Yokohama people, during the cherry blossom season. The most remarkable thing about Mitsuike Park is that it has over 70 different species of cherry blossom trees, all with their own distinct blossoms, and there is a total of more than 1,600 cherry trees spread across a huge area of the park.
Since the different types of cherry blossoms bloom at different times and for different amounts of time, you can enjoy cherry blossoms for an unusually long time: from the end of February until early April. Of course, every year the exact dates of the cherry blossom season is a little different, be sure to check the Mitsuike Park website for all of the information. During the peak of the cherry blossom season, Mitsuike Park is completely pink. Cherry blossoms surround the three ponds and the water reflects the cherry blossoms beautifully. As the petals fall, they make a beautiful pink blanket across the ground and across the water’s surface.
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Address: 1-1 Mitsuikekoen, Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 15 minute by car from Tsurumi Station
Hours: 24 Hours
Website: Mitsuike Park (Japanese)
#9. Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura – Gunma
Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura is the most famous and popular cherry blossom viewing spot in the Gunma prefecture. The scenery of a beautiful tunnel created by light pink cherry blossom flowers is unforgettable. About 1,400 cherry blossom trees bloom every year in the Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura, which literally means 1,000 cherry blossom trees at the bottom of Mount Akagi.
The Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura Festival is held from the beginning to the middle of April and cherry blossom trees are illuminated by bonbori (a Japanese lamp with a paper shade) from the sunset to 9:30 PM. Cherry blossom trees tend to have a different colors when illuminated by soft orange lights of Bonbori lamps. During the festival, you can buy fresh agricultural products that are locally produced at the bottom of Mount Akagi, watch folk entertainment, street performances, live music and other various stage performances.
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Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura
Address: 2511-2 Ninagashima-cho, Maebashi City, Gumma Prefecture
Access: 20 minute bus ride from Ogo Station on Jomo Electric Railway and 5 minute walk after getting off at the stop, Denryoku Chuo Kenkyusho Mae
Website: Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura (Japanese)
#10. Gongendo Park – Saitama
Gongendo Park houses about 1,000 cherry trees and other flowers. Located in the Saitama Prefecture, it is approximately fifty minutes from Tokyo by car. The best feature of this park, that sets it apart from the rest, is the one kilometer stretch of cherry trees lining the path. The cherry trees are directly next to the path, forming a tunnel of cherry blossoms, while there are fields of mustard flowers on the outside of the trees. The contrast between the pink blossoms on the trees and smaller, yellow flowers leave many visitors speechless, whether they be natives who have seen it every year or tourists seeing it for the first time.
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Address: 50 Koemon, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture
12 minutes by car from Minami-Kurihashi Station
30 minute walk from Minami-Kurihashi Station
Website: Gongendo Park
#11. Omiya Park – Saitama
Omiya Park is in the Saitama Prefecture. It was opened in 1885 and is one of “Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots”. The park is about sixty-eight hectares (or a little over 168 acres) and is filled with cherry blossoms and Japanese Red Pines, the two things it is most famous for. A short walk is worth it to see over 1,000 Yoshino cherry blossoms lining the trails of the park. The winding trails and the reflections of the blossoms in the water are absolutely breathtaking. They even light up the park from the end of March to the beginning of April from about seven to nine at night to extend your time enjoying the wonderful blossoms. The park is lit up with traditional paper lanterns, making the entire experience much more magical.
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Address: 4 Takahanacho, Omiya Ward, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture
Access: 15 minute walk from Omiyakoen Station
Website: Omiya Park (Japanese)
#12. Mobara Park – Chiba
Mobara Park has long been one of the top flower viewing areas in all of Japan and for good reason – the expansive sanctuary is home to almost 3000 different cherry trees including wild varieties like the yamazakura, although many of them belong to the Yoshino genus. The Yoshino cherry trees (named after the Yoshino Mountain in the Nara Prefecture) for most of the year are either nondescript during the winter or average looking during the summer, but between April 1st and 15th they bloom in Mobara Park. For someone who has never witnessed it, it can be hard to explain – the white and pink flowers create the illusion of an interconnected cloud hovering just above the ground.
The expansive park – which covers nearly 160,000 square meters – definitely demands a full day, so if you’re planning to visit be sure to leave enough time to walk through the hiking trails. During the high season, it can be very crowded as well, so it’s best to avoid having a picnic in the main walkways where there’s a lot of traffic. Nevertheless, there are plenty of side trails where you can often find a quiet relaxing alcove under the blossoms, and is a favorite location for couples on a romantic first date.
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Address: 1325 Takashi, Mobara City, Chiba Prefecture
12 minutes by car from Mobara Station
7 minutes by bus from Mobara Station, Nishimachi bus to Otaki
9:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Weekdays)
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Weekends)
Website: Mobara Park (Japanese)
#13. Omigawa Shiroyama Park – Chiba
Omigawa Shiroyama Park stands out because there is nearly 1,000 Yoshino cherry trees, which are one of the most popular and iconic fairytale-esque species. When the buds turn, they tend to explode into color, creating dense canopies of blossoms that sweeten the air with their fragrance. During this time hundreds of onlookers crowd the park, filtering into the cherry blossom tunnels, and because it’s one of the more popular places it’s important to remember not to crowd the paths with your own picnic setups. Omigawa Shiroyama Park itself is situated on a hill, and there are some more hidden areas off the main drive that can offer up some peaceful places to hide out and enjoy the splendor of nature. Aside from the ubiquitous collection of ancient Yoshino cherry trees, the park (as the name of their eminent festival suggests) also houses an impressive array of azaleas – almost 4000, comprising a number of different colors and species.
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Omigawa Shiroyama Park
Address: 431 Omigawa, Katori City, Chiba Prefecture
30 minute walk from Omigawa Station
10 minutes by car from Omigawa Station
Hours: 24 Hours
Website: Omigawa Shiroyama Park (Japanese)
#14. Sumida River Park – Asakusa
Located on the east end of Tokyo near Asakusa Station lies one of the most beautiful, and surely most popular, cherry blossom viewing destinations along the Sumida River. The Sumida River Park is home to hundreds of Cherry Blossom tress that are nothing less than breathtaking. This destination is especially popular with travelers as they can take a through Edo period Japan from Sensoji Temple along the winding streets of the Asakusa neighborhood. The cherry blossoms are not the only spectacle to be seen as you can see an incredible view of Skytree and the Asahi Beer Hall from across the river as they loom above adding to the exemplary backdrop. The local shops and vendors scattered about the park make Sumida River Park the ideal location for Hanami festivities under the trees.
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Sumida River Park
Address: 1-1 Hanakawado, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Access: 4 minute walk from Asakusa Station
Hours: 24 Hours
Website: Sumida River Park
#15. Ohirasan – Tochigi
There is no better way to gulp a large serve of fresh air than to go hiking. Ohirasan is a mount parked right next to Tochigi city. It has a scenic hiking route that leads all the way to the Ohirasan Shrine. The quiet and refreshing way up the mountain is the perfect spot for couples and families in search of place to stroll along and enjoy the moment. As spring rolls around, so do cherry blossoms. We are all familiar with these beautiful pink flowers transforming the landscape into a magical heaven every year. Ohirasan is no exception as both hiking and driving routes are covered with cherry blossom tunnels. Not only does it offer a striking view, it also grants a free pass to complete abandon to beauty. It is easy to forget that there is anything else that matters when the flowers are in full bloom.
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Address: Hiraicho, Tochigi City, Tochigi Prefecture
Access: 15 minutes by car from Tochigi Station
Website: Ohirasan, Tochigi City
#16. Tenpyo no Oka Park – Tochigi
When searching for a place to go to enjoy with the kids and the family that is both easy to access and contains all the basic utilities necessary to keep everyone happy, Tenpyo no Oka Park comes to mind right away. With its car park, its neat design and toilets spread out throughout, it offers the most convenient place to hang out during the cherry blossoms season.
As you get to the park, there is a map that shows you the best spots to put down your mat under the beautiful pink flowers of spring. There, you can join many other families with your best dishes for the day and watch performances on the stage. If you prefer privacy however, all you need is to walk away from the stage area and find most isolated trees where peace and quiet are your best allies.
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Tenpyo no Oka Park
Address: 993−1 Kokubunji, Shimotsuke, Tochigi Prefecture,
Access: 10 minute by car from Koganei Station
Hours: 24 Hours
Website: Tenpyo no Oka Park
#17. Fukuokazeki Sakura Park – Ibaraki
The Ibaraki prefecture is one of the most sought after during cherry blossom season, Fukuokazeki Sakura Park has some very colorful cherry blossom trees. There is something very charming about the entire area and the locals are very proud of the beauty it offers every year.
Close to two kilometers long, the canal at Fukuokazeki Sakura Park is one of the most popular sites to watch cherry blossom trees in Japan. You can walk along the trees or use canoes to travel all the way while being surrounded by the beautiful pink flowers. The long walk is like a muse for any artist in search for inspiration. The combination of beautiful trees and quiet water is a match made in heaven.
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Fukuokazeki Sakura Park
Address: 2633-7, Kitayama, Tsukubamirai City, Ibaraki Prefecture
Access: 10 minutes by car from Midorino Station
Hours: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Phone: 0297-58-2111 (Tsukubamirai City Office)
Website: Fukuokazeki Sakura Park