CéLaVi1/3
Photo: Cé La ViCé La Vi rooftop bar in Shibuya
Kanda River sakura cherry blossoms2/3
Photo: Picture Cells/PixtaCherry blossoms at Kanda River
The Tokyo Edition3/3
Photo: Edition

7 best things to do in Tokyo this spring

How to make the most of the beautiful season, with cherry blossom desserts, nature escapes and even a digital art sauna

By Emma Steen
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Spring has come sooner than expected this year with cherry blossoms flowering almost two weeks earlier than usual. It will be a little while before it’s safe to dance with strangers at music festivals again, so it’s just as well that spring is all about exploring the great outdoors. Kickstart your fitness routine by taking to some of the city’s most scenic jogging tracks, or take a socially distanced stroll to view the season’s dazzling flowers – they’re not all sakura, either. 

Coronavirus isn’t gone, but with the weather warming and flowers blooming, the world seems a lot more hospitable now than it did a few months ago. Here are the best things to do in and around Tokyo this spring. Just remember to practice social distancing, wear a mask when you're out and sanitise your hands often.

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Spring in your step

Photo: Navapon Plodprong/Dreamstime | Sakura at Chidorigafuchi Moat
Photo: Navapon Plodprong/Dreamstime | Sakura at Chidorigafuchi Moat
Photo: Navapon Plodprong/Dreamstime | Sakura at Chidorigafuchi Moat

Get the most out of sakura season

Hanami picnics might have gone out the window this year, but that doesn’t mean that cherry blossom season is cancelled entirely. There are sakura-flavoured desserts that are only available at this time of year and cherry blossom inspired afternoon teas to treat yourself to when you’re feeling indulgent. And while picnics may not be the best option for now, you can still stroll through Tokyo’s least crowded cherry blossom spots to admire the flowers on your next afternoon walk.

Cé La Vi
Cé La Vi
Photo: Cé La Vi

Grab a drink outdoors

Terrace seating might have been a bit ambitious back when winds were brisk and blustery, but with temperatures rising, now is the perfect time to find a rooftop bar or outdoor lounge to have a drink or two with your mates. 

At outdoor cafés and bars, you could easily swing from late lunch to afternoon cocktails as you enjoy the fresh air and opportunities for people-watching. Some places, like these rooftop bars, even feature stunning views of the Tokyo skyline and make the perfect spot for drinks after sundown.

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Okutama, autumn leaves
Okutama, autumn leaves
Photo: Wipark Kulnirandorn/Dreamstime

Go on a nature escape

Being stuck indoors for weeks on end is no fun luckily there are plenty of activities for nature lovers that are easily accessible from the city. You don’t even have to leave Greater Tokyo to reach these nature escapes shrouded in trees and lush greenery. 

Exercise your lungs with these scenic jogging trails or go chasing waterfalls and climbing mountains for a weekend with these hikes in and around Tokyo. Even if you’re not a fan of running or hiking, you can still bask in the glory of Mother Nature at these stylish glamping sites where all the work is done for you.

Nemophila Hitachi Seaside Park
Nemophila Hitachi Seaside Park
Photo: Hitachi Seaside Park

See other spring flowers

Cherry blossoms aren’t the only flowers that bloom in spring. In addition to the fleeting pink petals of sakura that appear between March and April, spring also sees curtains of purple wisteria, rolling hills of baby blue eyes (pictured) and fields of pink moss creating vistas that might as well have come straight out of a picture book.

You can see these flora in all their splendor in the best flower parks in Greater Tokyo. Otherwise, travel further out to catch events like the Nemophila Festival in Osaka or this springtime illumination at this Kyoto temple rock garden.

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Rainbow flag, LGBTQ+
Rainbow flag, LGBTQ+
Photo: Cecilie Johnsen/Unsplash

Join in on Tokyo Rainbow Pride

Tokyo’s community of LGBTQ+ minorities and allies is ever-growing. Though the annual Rainbow Pride festival held in Yoyogi Park every spring is one of the most celebratory events in the city, with its host of performances and supporters decked in multi-coloured outfits, it’s primary purpose is a rally to advocate change. 

While organisers are still ironing out the final details so that participants will still be able to observe Covid-19 safety protocols, you can be sure that this cheerful crusade will be worth attending, whether it’s held on- or offline this year.

'Array and Spiral of Resonating Lamps - One Stroke, Metropolis Tokyo'
'Array and Spiral of Resonating Lamps - One Stroke, Metropolis Tokyo'
Photo: teamLab

Sweat it out in a digital art sauna

News Art

What better way to shake off the winter than having a steamy sauna session? Not just at any ordinary sauna, mind you. The latest exhibit by teamLab, officially opening on March 22, is a digital art installation that you can experience in a luxurious sauna. 

The facility will feature three sections: the sauna itself, a cold water bath for cooling down and an ‘art bath’ where you can view artworks that will respond to your physical presence. The digital art sauna will only be around until August, so be sure to book your tickets so you don’t miss out.

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Maman
Maman
Photo: Cowardlion/Dreamstime

Log on for Roppongi Art Night

News Art

One of Tokyo’s biggest art events is going digital this year. While extended museum hours for late-night viewing might not be on the programme this time around, an open call was held for artists to submit their work for online viewing so that people could participate in the event at home. 

Rather than dull archives of still images and photographs of 3D sculptures, the online collection boasts a wide range of avant-garde video projects and experimental pieces from up-and-coming local artists. 

Of course, there’s still plenty of art to see if you find yourself passing through Roppongi. Be sure to keep an eye out for Takashi Murakami’s golden ‘Flower Parent and Child’ sculpture as well as other public artworks scattered about Tokyo Midtown when you’re next in the neighbourhood. 

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