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1. Ueno Onshi Park [Ueno]

se7en/Flickr

Most are familiar with it’s nickname “Ueno Park” and with an art gallery and a zoo, it’s a hugely popular spot for everyday hangouts and for sightseeing. During sakura (cherry blossom) season though, it’s even livelier. The spacious park has about 800 sakura trees of 50 different species planted and when they bloom, the park is painted in pink.

Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson/Flickr

There are lots of people who enjoy sitting under the sakura trees, drinking and talking. Among them, there are also the drunk people singing loudly or sleeping. It’s a perfect place for anyone who wants to submerge themselves in the Japanese “ohanami (flower viewing) atmosphere.

Photo by Kabacchi/Flickr

You can also ride the boats on the Shinobazu pond in the park and enjoy ohanami. There are normally rowboats but why not try riding the cute, swan-shaped, foot-propelled boats? Your hands will be free so you can take photos and videos as you move around.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Ueno Onshi Park]

Opening Hours: 5:00AM〜23:00PM

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 2 minute walk from Ueno station on the JR/Tokyo metro

Address: 5-20 Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo(Google Map)

HP: www.kensetsu.metro.tokyo.jp/jigyo/park/kouenannai/park/ueno/index_top.html (Japanese Only)

2. Meguro River [Meguro]

Zengame/Flickr

In Japan, sakura are planted along the road and along the river so while you’re walking, there are many sakura trees that you can enjoy looking at. Among these, one of the most well-known and popular places is Meguro River and its rows of sakura trees. About 4 km throughout, there are about 800 sakura trees planted along this river.

Looking at the sakura along Meguro River from the ground is the norm, but you can also enjoy it from the river itself. Because the sakura branches hang over the side of the river, you can gaze at the flowers up close. You can enjoy the beautiful spectacle of the surface of the river being colored pink when the sakura falls.

0427tama/Flickr

For the duration of the sakura blooming season, the area is lit up until 9pm. The sakura that are illuminated by the gentle light from the paper lanterns have a magical atmosphere that’s totally different from the daytime.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Meguro River]

Opening Hours: 24hrs a day

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 2 minute walk from Meguro station on the Tokyu Toyoko line. 

Address: 1-13-7 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: meguro-kanko.or.jp(Japanese Only)

3. Shinjuku Gyoen [Shinjuku]

Photo by Инариский/Flickr

Shinjuku Gyoen is located in the metropolis of Shinjuku with its many rows of skyscrapers. Inside the park, there are about 1,100 sakura trees blooming with about 65 different varieties. Because their blooming times vary, you can enjoy looking at the flowers for up to a month when usually it’s only about 2 weeks.

When you’re surrounded by so much nature inside the park, you tend to forget that you’re actually in Shinjuku. However, based on the angle you’re at, you can see lots of skyscrapers. The combination of the skyscrapers and the sakura is a great Tokyo-esque springtime scene to capture in your camera and is unique to Shinjuku Gyoen.

Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson/Flickr

There is an entrance fee and because it’s forbidden to bring alcohol, the park has a calm atmosphere. A recommended spot for anyone who wants to view the flowers quietly.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Late April

 

[About Shinjuku Gyoen]

Opening Hours: 9:00AM ~ 4:00PM

Closed: Mondays (open always from March 25〜 April 24 and November 1〜15)

Price/fee: Adults – ¥200, Elementary/Middle schoolers – ¥50, Infants – Free

Access: 5 minute walk from Shinjuku Gyoen-Mae Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line

Address: 11 Nait0machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: fng.or.jp/shinjuku/(Japanese Only)

4. Chidorigafuchi [Kudanshita]

The Imperial Palace where the Emperor of Japan resides was once the site of Edo Castle. The remains of this castle is still in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace. In spring, Chidorigafuchi which is the walkway that runs along the west side of the Imperial Palace, has around 260 sakura trees in bloom. While walking or riding in a boat or even jogging, you can gaze at the sakura blooms.

The walkway around the Imperial Palace is spacious and has many paths where vehicles are forbidden so you can relax, take your time and view the flowers. It’s also great so sit on a bench under the sakura and eat a bento (boxed lunch).

During the “Chiyoda Sakura Festival”, the area is illuminated and even the boats continue business during the night. Looking up from the water at the magical sakura at night is bound to be a memory you’ll never forget. Also, on days when it isn’t windy, the surface of the water is like a mirror and the sakura projected on the surface is even more beautiful.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Chidorigafuchi]

Opening Hours: 24hrs a day

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 5 minute walk from Kudanshita station on the Toei Shinjuku/Hanzomon/Tozai lines. 

Address: From 2 Chome to Sanbancho, Kudanminami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: fng.or.jp/koukyo/(Japanese Only)

5. Yasukuni Shrine [Kudanshita]

Yasukuni Shrine which is highly popular with tourists along with Meiji Shrine has about 500 sakura trees planted there. During the sakura season, there are food stalls inside the shrine so if you get a little hungry, go ahead and have fun walking around and eating. It’s close to the Imperial Palace so you can enjoy sakura viewing in several places.

Yasukuni Shrine was built in 1869 making it a comparatively new shrine. However, the Japanese-style structures together with the sakura goes extraordinarily well together. It’ll make you feel like you’re back in time while looking at the sakura.

Yasukuni Shrine is always quite crowded during sakura blooming season. If you want to see the sakura at a more quiet time then you can try the main shrine which is a little bit separated. If you roam inside for a bit, you just might find a flower viewing spot all to yourself.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Yasukuni Shrine]

Opening Hours: 6:00AM〜5:00PM(Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec), 6:00AM〜6:00PM(March – October)

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 5 minute walk from Kudanshita station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai/Hanzomon/Toei Shinjuku lines

Address: 3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: www.yasukuni.or.jp/english/index.html

HP: www.yasukuni.or.jp(Japanese)

 

6. Asukayama Park [Oji]

Asukayama Park is a park in Oji, Kita-ku which is the Northern part of Tokyo. It’s been famous as a place for sakura for 300 years. To get there, you should definitely use the last remaining tram in Tokyo on the Toden Arakawa line. It’s quite lovely getting to see the sakura from the window of the retro tram.

Inside the park, there are about 600 sakura trees. The entirety of the park is actually a small mountain so the park goes up and down, making for great exercise. For those who find it a bit hard to walk, we recommend the free monorail (Asuka Park Rail) that takes you to the top of the mountain. That being said, it’s quite crowded during sakura season so do take note.

In Asukayama Park, there is a pansy flower garden and you can also enjoy looking at their vivid blooms. Also, there are many azaleas planted and if the season matches up, you can watch the sakura and azaleas compete against each other to bloom.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Asukayama Park]

Opening Hours: 24hours a day

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 4 minute walk from Oji station on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line and Toei Namboku Line or get off at Asukayama on the Toden Arakawa Line. 

Address: 1-1-3 Oji, Kita-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: www.city.kita.tokyo.jp/dourokoen/bunka/koenichiran/asukayama.html(Japanese Only)

 

7. Sumida Park [Asakusa]

Sumida Park is a park in Asakusa that is one of Tokyo typical tourist spots. When the 600 sakura trees are in full bloom, the sakura and Skytree along with Sumida river create a scene that combines the past era and the modern era, something unique to this park.

The park has two separate pathways. The upper path is usually crowded but you get to be up close with the sakura and look at them along with Skytree. On the lower path you have to see the sakura from far away but there are less people so you can leisurely stroll around.

It’s recommended to watch the sakura while cruising down the Sumida River. In particular, at night when the sakura trees are illuminated and Skytree is reflected on the water’s surface, you can fully enjoy the twinkling and dazzling romantic atmosphere.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Sumida Park]

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 3 minute walk from Asakusa station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line and the Skytree line

Address: 1-1 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: visit-sumida.jp/spot/6133/(Japanese Only)

 

8. Shiba Park [Hamamatsucho]

Although Skytree is extremely popular, we can’t forget about Tokyo Tower. It doesn’t have the futuristic feeling of Skytree but the warm color and lovely curved shape is a great match with sakura. Shiba Park close to Tokyo Tower is where you can see the sakura together with the tower.

It’s nice seeing the sakura during the day but you should definitely see it at night from here. Around Shiba Park, there are many glass-paneled skyscrapers and based on the position of the light, the sakura is reflected off the building windows. It gives you a very urban scenery.

The lights of Tokyo Tower change for limited periods of time. When the lights on the tower change, the color of the sakura also change. Based on the day, you can enjoy different colors of the sakura at night. Sounds nice right?

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Shiba Park]

Opening Hours: 24hours 

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: 2 minute walk from Shibakoen station on the Toei Mita Line. 

Address: Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index001.html(Japanese Only)

 

9. Mori Garden [Roppongi]

Even in the heart of the city, Roppongi is a rather modern and refined town. Mori Garden is a traditional Japanese garden located near to the popular shopping spot, Roppongi Hills. There are 13 sakura trees here which isn’t much, but they are effectively placed surrounding the pond and the illumination from 5:30 – 11:00 is immensely beautiful.

From Mori Garden, you can take photos of the sakura together with Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills. Go ahead and search for the best photo spot while strolling through the gardens.

Although Mori Garden is easily accessible from the train station it’s not likely to be crowded all the way there. At lunchtime, businessmen and neighborhood mothers with children relax and enjoy viewing the sakura.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Mori Garden]

Opening Hours: 7:00AM〜11:00PM

Closed: Never

Price/fee: Free

Access: Right outside of Roppongi station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line

Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: www.roppongihills.com.e.nt.hp.transer.com/green/

HP: www.roppongihills.com.t.nt.hp.transer.com/green/(繁体字)

HP: www.roppongihills.com/green/(Japanese Only)

10. Showa Memorial Park [Tachikawa]

Photo by Chao-Wei Juan/Flickr

Showa Memorial Park is recommended for sakura viewing if you’re the active type. The park is spacious and has features like cycling roads and a massive trampoline. There are also spots where you can see the sakura and rapeseed blossoms at the same time.

Photo by ClieistD/Flickr

There are about 1,500 sakura trees. The sakura are concentrated in the central area of the park and you can see lots of them spreading out before your eyes. Also, because the sakura spot is quite wide, even if there are also of people it doesn’t feel that congested.

Photo by Chao-Wei Juan/Flickr

The park has about 30 different varieties of sakura. You can see the Shidarezakura (weeping cherry) with branches that hang downwards. It’s nice to sit under the tree that you like while eating your bento and appreciating the beauty of it.

[Best time to see the sakura] Annually: Late March – Early April

 

[About Showa Memorial Park]

Opening Hours: 9:30AM~5:00PM(3/1~10/31), 9:30AM~4:30PM(11/1~end of February), 9:30AM~6:00PM(4/1~9/30 on weekends and holidays)

Closed: 12/31, 1/1, the 4th Monday of February and the following day.

Price/fee: 15 years and over: ¥410, elementary & middle school: ¥80, 65 years and over: ¥210. 

Access: 10 minute walk from Tachikawa station on the JR Chuo line

Address: 3173 Midoricho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo (Google Map)

HP: www.showakinen-koen.jp/guide-english/schedule-english/

HP: www.showakinen-koen.jp/guide-chinese/schedule-chinese/(中文)

HP: www.showakinen-koen.jp(Japanese)

 

Quietly or lively; sitting down or strolling through; there are many ways to enjoy sakura. If you visit Japan during sakura viewing season, you’ll probably gain an even deeper understanding of Japanese culture. You too can experience this season exclusive to Japan.

 

Bonus: A map of Japan’s cherry blossom forecast

Please check Japan’s cherry blossom forecast (as of March 15th) here!

 

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