The time has come: it’s peak sakura season in Tokyo! We’re sharing our Top 6 favourite spots to see Sakura in Tokyo, so you can make the most of your time in Japan, or plan your next trip! From secret local hangouts, to the most celebrated spots – we’ll give you the best tips and advice to enjoy your hanami, romantic date or solo cherry blossom walk.
1. Zenpukuji River Park – Asagaya
Why you’ll love it: Hang out and hanami with the locals, minus the hordes of tourists!
The crowd: locals, families
Getting there: Take the Chuo/Sobu Line to Asagaya Station or the Marunouchi Line to Minami Asagaya Station and walk south
This is our favourite local spot to see Sakura in Tokyo. We are biased though – when we first moved to Tokyo we lived in Asagaya and made some amazing memories here. We had our first hanami just days after getting married, got day-drunk with local families, ate amazing homemade food, shared laughs with friends and strangers and later celebrated our anniversary here.
The riverside park stretches for miles so you can have the most magical walk under the cherry blossoms, or bring your picnic mat, some food and sake to experience your own Tokyo hanami. It’s easy to find a spot to sit here – unlike all the famous parks where you have to grab your spot super early!
Before heading down to the river, pick up your spring wagashi and sake at the artisan stores in Asagaya’s traditional shopping street: the Pearl Centre Shotengai. For bento and other meals, there are a few convenience stores near the main bridge by the river.
2. Nakameguro Canal
Why you’ll love it: One of the trendiest spots to snap a few shots & walk around eating street food, plus it gets even more beautiful at night!
The crowd: young & trendy
Getting there: Get off at Nakameguro Station, go straight and turn left once you reach the river.
Again, we’re biased here! The day we got married we had a beautiful evening at Nakameguro, walking around with champagne and eating delicious food under the lanterns and fluttering blossoms.
Nakameguro does get busy during peak season, but it’s not a hanami spot so the foot traffic flows pretty well. We recommend turning up for sunset to get some lovely golden photos, then walk and eat street snacks while the sun fades and the lanterns slowly illuminate the blossoms. There’s a lot of tasty street food to choose from (including the famous champagne with strawberries), but if you’re looking for a meal at one of the canal-side restaurants, you’ll want to book early. Window seats usually book out months in advance!
3. Hase Dera, Kamakura
Why you’ll love it: Kamakura is beautiful in any season, but you can’t beat temple sakura in this ancient town!
The crowd: all ages, friends and couples
Getting there: Get to Kamakura Station, then take the Enoshima line to Hase
Only an hour from Shinjuku or Tokyo station, this stunning temple town was booming during the samurai times, and became known for its temples, nature and culture.
The blossoms in Kamakura are beautiful wherever you go, but our favourite spot is Hase Dera; a large Buddhist temple with zen gardens, a restaurant and stunning hilltop views. Plus you can ride the charming Enoden Tram to get there! There are lots of great memories to be made here.
Once you’re finished with your zen sakura walk, head back to Komachi Dori in the main town for traditional crafts and food, or take a walk along the beach.
4. Inokashira Koen, Kichijoji
Why you’ll love it: this popular hanami spot comes complete with Tokyo’s most romantic lake!
The crowd: couples and groups of friends
Getting there: Take the Chuo/Sobu Line to Kichijoji Station and walk south, or take the Keio Inokashira Line to Inokashira Station
We’ve had a few blissful hanami gatherings with friends, and romantic walks at this lovely sakura spot. If you want a long day of fun under the blossoms, gather a group of friends and head over early (before 8am) to grab the best spot. Take a walk around the sparkling lake, or head back into town to pick up food and drinks. Then drink and laugh until the sun goes down!
If you’re going as a couple, the swan boats may look like a fun thing to do but the urban legend says that couples who ride the boats won’t last long! Instead, take a stroll around the lake, over the bridges and through the extensive gardens. You can even stop for ice cream and tea if the cafes are open. For dinner, check out Sopa restaurant in the park.
5. Shinjuku Gyoen, Central Tokyo
Why you’ll love it: Central location, quiet, blossoms usually bloom earliest here
The crowd: All ages, mostly tourists
Getting there: Get off at Shinjuku-Gyoemmae station and walk south
This lovely park does have a small entrance fee, but it helps cover the maintenance of the manicured lawns. It also doesn’t allow alcohol so you won’t see any rowdy and messy hanami parties here! Perfect if you’re looking for a quiet walk before doing some shopping in Shinjuku.
The cherry trees are known to bloom earlier here than elsewhere, so avoid the crowds at Ueno, Yoyogi and other popular hanami spots. The garden is huge so don’t forget to explore all the areas, including the large hothouse full of tropical plants.
6. Yanaka Cemetery Park, East Tokyo
Why you’ll love it: close to Ueno Park (Tokyo’s busiest hanami spot) but very quiet and mysterious
The crowd: older locals, cats
Getting there: Get off at Nippori Station and follow the signs to Yanaka Cemetery Park
This may not be a typical recommendation for seeing Sakura in Tokyo, but it is unique! This beautiful old cemetery is filled with famous graves – war heroes, samurais, poets, Tokugawa shoguns and more. You’ll really feel the weight of history here. To lighten it up, the cherry blossoms float mysteriously onto the ground and pile up into a carpet of blossoms. There’s also a lot of local stray cats hanging around so you won’t get too spooked out here! The main road is actually named Sakura Dori so you know the blossoms will be good here.
7. Hanami River, Chiba
Why you’ll love it: lush blossoms and no crowds, close to Makuhari for shopping and food
The crowd: mostly older locals
Getting there: Take the Keio line from Tokyo Station to KaihimMakuhari station and walk to Hanami River. Some of the parks along the river with the best Sakura are Kita-Isobe 4th park and Masago 4-Chome Dai 2 park. Go for a walk and see what you can find
If you’re looking for an incredibly chill hanami spot (we’re talking literally no one there on weekdays), then you’ll love this out-of-the-way suggestion. While not in Tokyo, Chiba is part of the Greater Tokyo area and really easy to get to. Many people visit to go to Disneyland, see concerts in Makuhari or go to the large shopping malls.
If you’re heading out to Chiba anyway, why not make a day of it and dress up in yukata for a very quiet and private hanami along the river (it is called Hanami River after all).
The surrounding area is a bit industrial but once you get to the parks you’ll be surrounded by the fluffiest blossoms and lush grass. Have a romantic picnic here, a photoshoot or gather some friends for a full day of drinking and fun.
Enjoy! Let us know if you visit any of our top spots.