Tokyo’s Best Sakura Locations

What an incredible week! In the last weekend of March, the cherry blossoms were just beginning to bloom, and everyone was excited and ready to welcome spring’s annual masterpiece. The sunshine only lasted for a few days before the rain clouds took over. And now, the green leaves have sprouted, marking the beginning of the end of the cherry blossoms’ short but very sweet life.

Rather than travel outside of the city, this year I made it my mission to stay in Tokyo and see as many famous as well as not so well-known sakura spots as I could. The result? One very intense, fun, amazing week of adventures! I was afraid I’d go into sakura depression after the season had finished, but actually I just feel very fulfilled! I can’t believe how much these flowers transform the city. It’s truly one of the most beautiful natural phenomena.

Here are 10 of my favourite cherry blossom spots in Tokyo city…

#1 – Sengawa River in Setagaya

I happened upon this river a few weeks ago and noticed all of these bare cherry blossom tree branches overhanging the canal. I could just imagine how it would look in spring and knew I had to come back once the sakura season started. I’m very glad I did! The mirror reflection of the sakura in the water against the blue sky was so picturesque! It reminded me of the famous canal at Naka-Meguro, but without any of the crowds! Definitely one of the best kept secrets in Tokyo.


#2 – Harimazaka, Bunkyo

This street is also not one of the most well-known of spots for sakura viewing, but it deserves a lot of attention. The two sides of the street as well as the median strip is lined with trees, making three rows of sakura! Traffic was not so bad, so it was actually quite a nice spot to sit down for a picnic.


#3 – Sumida Park, near Tokyo Sky tree

Sumida Park actually spreads across both sides of the Sumida River. Half of the park lies near Asakusa, while the other half is close to Tokyo Sky tree. There’s a small garden on the Sky tree side that really blew me away with its gorgeous sakura trees, which perfectly framed the giant 634 metre tower!

#4 – Ark Hills, near Roppongi Itchome

I was actually on my way to Roppongi Hills when this area caught my eye. Although it was raining, these rows of trees were beautiful against the night sky and city lights.


#5 – Ueno Park

Ueno is notorious for its crowds. I was going to skip this park but thought I have to go at least once! And it was a good choice! At dusk, the lake was really beautiful. It was fun to weave through the crowd, but I wouldn’t want to be one of the picnic parties that have to get there at a ridiculously early time to reserve their spot!

#6 – Chidorigafuchi, the Imperial Palace moat

This area of the Imperial Palace is one of the most iconic sakura spots in Tokyo. It actually felt more congested than Ueno Park since the pathways here are narrower and people (myself included!) want to stop every 5 metres to take a photo. The garden designers for the Emperor definitely knew what they were doing when they planned this spectacular sight!

#7 – Nakameguro

The Meguro River has been voted the most popular sakura viewing spot in recent years. And for good reason. The canal near Naka-meguro is lined with cherry blossoms. From the bridges that connect the two sides, you get an incredible ‘tunnel’ view of the sakura. The crowds here are intense and you have to be very patient if you want that perfect shot! Luckily, there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby where you can unwind in after having battled the masses.

#8 – Senzoku Pond

A friend introduced me to this very family-friendly and beautiful area. We had a lot of fun taking a row boat around the lake and soaking up the warm spring weather. This lake is rich with history and was featured as a ukiyo-e print in the One Hundred Famous View of Edo in the 1800s.

#9 – Rikugien

Rikugien is one of Tokyo’s top 9 strolling gardens. In spring, the giant weeping cherry blossoms are the star attractions. I didn’t even bother seeing the rest of the garden – this monster of a tree was incredible on its own. I arrived late afternoon and was able to see the colours on the tree change numerous times as the sun went down. It was mesmerising!

#10 – Koishikawa Korakuen

This is another of the top strolling gardens in the city. It’s surrounded by modern skyscrapers, but still manages to keep a very peaceful feel to it. I love how there are so many hidden areas of this garden – it’s a great place to explore!

The season is not finished just yet. I still hope to get to some of the lakes around Mt. Fuji in the coming weeks, where the sakura bloom a little later. But for now, spring holidays are over, and it’s back to work!

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Tokyo’s Best Sakura Locations

  1. Wow!!! This is so beautiful and you have managed to visit and capture different aspects of the beauty spread by Sakura trees. Right from lake side to within a park to roadside to night view, and all important locations…beauty of nature and celebration of human kind, a perfect confluence. The mirror reflection of the sakura in the water against the blue sky was indeed beautiful…you have put your lens to get the best shot and it is reflecting in all your pictures…
    Cheers to the beauty of nature.
    :D

    Like

    • Thanks, Nihar! That’s the beauty of sakura trees – they can grow anywhere! It’s the gardeners, home owners and town planners who deserve all the credit for choosing where to plant the trees and being able to foresee how beautiful they will be in 20+ years time! I love how many old trees’ branches are so heavy that they have to be supported by beams, and as the generations pass by, more and more beams are added. You can really see the history and can appreciate the effort people have put into maintaining them over many decades!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Celina, it is such a beautiful picture to see the nature at its best, sakura trees and the flowers it soaks you into the aura of nature’s bounty and beauty.
        The entire city looks like a garden, yes the credit must goes to the people behind the planning and visualizing it…20 years long time but someone has plan for it. Of course it needs all of care and support to maintain and sustain the beauty of nature…
        :D

        Like

  2. Hi Celia,
    Happy Easter and thanks for this post – it’s fantastic. Whizzing around Tokyo to all those spots is for sure a week well spent and I’ll be taking notes of them for future reference. My favourite shot is the third pic of the Sengawa River series, where one’s eye just moves back through the photo from the waterfall in the foreground and where the blue sky provides a lovely contrast for the Sakura. Great to hear you’ve avoided Sakura depression too :)
    John

    Like

    • Happy Easter, John! I always forget that it’s Easter since it’s not celebrated here.
      I didn’t make it to Kyoto this year (did I mention to you I hoped to go…?), but Tokyo ended up far exceeding my expectations! Thank you for your comments about that picture in particular! I wasn’t sure if there was too much going on in the photo, but I wanted to show that perfect/still reflection in contrast with the rushing waterfall.
      Cheers :)

      Like

      • You’re welcome Celia,
        After seeing your photos I regret missing the Sakura in Tokyo as I’ve tended to prioritise Kyoto. I found the photo in question captivating and I liked the different elements you captured. For example, the slope of the canal walls reflected in the water gave an interesting “waistline” look. Sometimes its best not to over analyse and just rely on feel. There is always next year for Kyoto :).
        John

        Like

  3. 千鳥(ちどり)がふちという 皇居(こうきょ)の堀(ほり)に そって立つさくら並木は 
    みごとですね。トップテンのうち、ナンバー ワン だと、おもいます。
    皇族(こうぞく)の方々も この満開の桜並木の光景を たのしまれるでしょうか。
    きっと、一般(いっぱん)の人々のほうが、自由に さくら見が できて、
    しあわせだと、おもいます。
    文京区(ぶんきょうく)の 3列の桜並木は めずらしいですね。ここは、東京大学の近くですか。
    わたしは 後楽園(こうらくえん)のような 日本庭園で、さくらを 眺(なが)めながら 
    おべんとうを たべるのが 最高(さいこう)に しあわせだと、おもいます。
    セリアさんも さくらの写真をとるだけでなく、おはなみの宴会(えんかい)で 
    お酒をのんだり、おいしいものを 食べたりしましたか。

    Like

    • やっぱり千鳥ヶ淵が一番好きですね。夜景もとても綺麗だと言われています。来年ぜひ行ってみてください! はい、お花見もしましたよ。桜が咲き始めたばかりでしたのに、砧公園で10人の友達と一緒に楽しい時間を過ごすことができました!

      Like

  4. Thanks Celia, you have given me some new spots for next year! My recommendation is the walk from Shukugawara along to Noborito, along a lovely wee canal, IIt’s a nice loop.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Walkin’ in DC – Part 2 – PEOPLE | priorhouse blog

    • I’m sure there are plenty of great sakura areas in Kanagawa, too! It doesn’t have to be expensive… actually, I did a lot of walking! There are so many unknown but amazing spots which you would only discover on foot :)

      Like

    • Thanks for your comments Jo! Happy to share these images with you and everyone. I feel lucky to have been able to witness all of this first-hand.
      Great! She is a rockstar! Glad you found your way here from her blog :) :)

      Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s