Apr 6, 2012
Francesco Agresti

Cherry Blossom Viewing Hotspots

It’s that time of year again where people eat, drink and sing under the infamously short-lived Sakura trees. In Tokyo, cherry blossoms generally start opening around the end of March and come into full bloom about a week after.  All in all, cherry blossoms only last for around two weeks, which explains why they are so worshiped in Japan. You can enjoy the cherry blossoms with your loved ones at one of the following popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots:

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park

Nearest station: Harajuku Station (5 minute walk. Yamanote line)

Opening times: Everyday 5am-8pm

Admission: Free

This vast open green space is the perfect location to have a picnic under one of the 600 sakura trees sprawled across the park. The lively atmosphere is unlike any other as you will find people performing, singing, drinking, barbecuing and just having a whale of a time. You can find food stalls dotted around the park if you fancy some traditional festival food.

 

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Nearest station: Shinjuku Gyoen Mae Station(5 minute walk. Marunouchi Subway line)

Opening times: 9am-4:30pm (entry until 4pm). Closed on Mondays except for the cherry blossom season (late March to late April).

Admission: 200 yen

Shinjuku Gyoen hosts both Western and Japanese style gardens and is one of the more laid-back parks in Tokyo. Another special reason to visit the park is that it contains both early and late bloomers, meaning you still have a chance to see cherry blossoms if you miss the main season by a week or two.

 

Koishikawa Kourakuen

Koishikawa Korakuen

Nearest station: Kourakuen/Iidabashi Stations (5-10 minute walk. Marunouchi, Namboku and various JR lines)

Opening times: Everyday 9am-5pm (entry until 4:30pm)

Admission: 300 yen

Located next to the Tokyo Dome, Koishikawa Kourakuen garden is one of Tokyo’s most attractive traditional landscape gardens, featuring only a few dozen sakura trees. This is a great place to stop by if you plan on dining or visiting one of the several attractions around the stadium.

 

Rikugien

Rikugien

Nearest station: Komagome Station (5-10 minute walk. Yamanote/Namboku lines)

Opening times: Everyday 9am-5pm (entry until 4:30pm)

Admission: 300 yen

Rikugien is a must see garden whether there are cherry blossoms in bloom or not. Take a walk to the peak of the largest hill and let the view dazzle your senses. Upon entering the garden, you will notice a huge sakura tree dominating over all surrounding plant life, which makes it the perfect backdrop for a snap.

 

Ueno Park

Ueno Park

Nearest station: Ueno Station (Park Exit). (5-10 minute walk. Various JR lines)

Opening times: Everyday 9am-8pm

Admission: Free

Like Yoyogi park, Ueno is noisy, crowded and one of the most popular spots for partying. The park has a lot to offer its visitors by having wide open spaces, museums, food stalls and a zoo. An ideal place for the family to experience a traditional Japanese hanami.

 

Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

Nearest station: Tokyo Station (10 minute walk. Marunouchi line and various JR lines)

Opening times: Everyday 9am-4:30pm (entry until 4pm)

Admission: Free

Although there is no where to sit, the surrounding area of the Imperial Palace boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Tokyo. It is highly recommended to stroll around the palace in a full circle (which can take up to an hour) and absorb the natural beauty that japan is so famous for.

 

Inokashira park

Inokashira Park

Nearest station: Kichijoji Station (5 minute walk. JR Chuo line)

Opening times: Everyday 9am-10pm

Admission: Free

Enjoy a unique cherry blossom experience by renting out a boat (both rowing and peddle boats available) to cruise along the open pond centered within the park. Here you can get up close and personal with the fallen pink petals, which float effortlessly on the pond’s surface.

 

If you happen to be out of Tokyo, then check out some popular hanami spots across Japan.

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