The 5 Best Hotels To Stay In For Tokyo Sakura Viewing
It could be argued that there is no bad time of year to visit Tokyo. Summer, despite its oppressive humidity, is the season of street festivals and some of the largest fireworks displays you're likely to have ever seen. Winter brings with it smaller crowds, city-wide illuminations, and delicious seasonal dishes. Still, the cherry blossoms of spring are undoubtedly the biggest seasonal draw for visitors. If you are planning your own trip to Tokyo this spring, read on to discover five of the best hotels with easy access to sakura viewing spots.
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Where to Stay For The Best Sakura Viewing
While the iconic pink and white flowers can be spotted all throughout Tokyo, there are several locations in the city famed for their abundance of sakura. To truly immerse yourself in the seasonal beauty, we’ve chosen five hotels that will have you strolling among the sakura within minutes of stepping out the door.
APA Hotel Keisei Ueno-Ekimae
Each spring, countless Japanese locals and visitors alike participate in the over 1,000 year old tradition of hanami. This time-honored activity, whose name translates literally to “flower viewing”, often involves picnics in the park while pink and white sakura petals flutter to the ground like a gentle spring snow storm. Perhaps Tokyo’s most famous hanami destination, Ueno Park, is a sprawling public park complete with a temple, a pond with swan boats, and vendors selling many popular festival foods.
Located just on the edge of the park, APA Hotel Keisei Ueno-Ekimae couldn’t possibly be in a better location. Overlooking the abovementioned pond, it’s possible to book a room with a bird’s eye view of Ueno Koen’s over 800 sakura trees. As if that wasn’t enough, should you want to check out other sakura viewing spots throughout the city, the hotel is just a few minutes away from the train station by foot.
Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
The nearly 8km Meguro River flows through the Meguro Ward and into the nearby Tokyo Bay. When the sakura trees that line each side of the river are in full bloom, the river is transformed into a winding tunnel of pink and white. At the start of sakura season, lanterns hung along the trees light up each night to create an otherworldly ambiance that resembles something straight out of the pages of manga.
While hotels right along the river are hard to come by, the nearby Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is the perfect balance of location and luxury. The hotel offers both western and Japanese style rooms, the latter of which includes a private traditional-style bath for unwinding after a long day of sightseeing. The Meguro River is a mere two minute walk from the hotel entrance, and nearby Meguro Station can be reached in roughly five minutes on foot.
APA Hotel Shinjuku Gyoemmae
For all of its modern, towering buildings and seemingly endless urban landscape, Tokyo also has more massive public parks than one would expect. One of the city's most popular, Shinjuku Gyoen, provides a natural escape from the ward's perpetually busy environment. The park features several small ponds, Japanese, English and French-style gardens, and two traditional teahouses where visitors can enjoy freshly prepared matcha. Come spring, it is also a fantastic location to enjoy the sakura.
Located just outside Shinjuku Gyoen's main entrance gate, APA Hotel Shinjuku Gyoemmae is perfectly situated for visitors who would like to start their day with a peaceful walk in the park. Just a ten minute walk from central Shinjuku, this hotel is an ideal hub for visitors who don't want to compromise between enjoying the seasonal sakura and the city's other year-round attractions.
Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel
Inokashira Park in Kichijoji has long been a favorite date spot of Tokyo locals, and for good reason. Each spring, the park's already beautiful central pond is lined with blossoming sakura trees. Visitors can rent rowboats or paddle boats in the shape of swans and enjoy up-close views of the delicate pink and white flowers.
While the area around Inokashira Park is largely residential, Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel is only five minutes away on foot. Located just outside of Kichijoji Station, this hotel is located in the center of the area's shopping district, making it easy to explore the many local restaurants and shops. For fans of Japanese animation, Inokashira Park is also home to the famous Studio Ghibli Museum, located less than twenty minutes from the Tokyu REI Hotel.
PROSTYLE RYOKAN TOKYO ASAKUSA
Just minutes from Tokyo's oldest temple, Senso-ji, Sumida Park is home to stunning riverside views of the Tokyo Skytree, and also plays host to one of Japan's largest annual fireworks displays. Perhaps most famously, this park sees over 500 sakura trees bloom along either side of the riverbank come spring. Rather than simply enjoying the sights on foot, visitors also have the option to see the blossoms from a unique perspective by taking the waterbus that connects Asakusa and Odaiba.
Located conveniently close to the park, Prostyle Ryokan Asakusa offers visitors an experience that goes beyond that of a typical hotel. Traditional Japanese inns known as ryokan are more often found in the countryside, but Prostyle Ryokan offers the cultural charms of these inns, including tatami mat floors and Japanese-style baths, alongside all the comforts one would expect of a modern Tokyo hotel. For a unique sightseeing experience, guests can rent bicycles at the front desk, or arrange to be picked up in a rickshaw for a guided tour of the area.
Stay Close to What Matters Most
If the highlight of your Tokyo trip is seeing the iconic sakura up-close, or maybe taking part in a hanami picnic of your own, choosing a hotel in close proximity to the sights should be one of your top priorities. With the suggestions mentioned above, you'll be sure to make the most of your time and enjoy an unforgettable trip to Japan.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.