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Cherry blossoms in Tokyo

Where to see the sakura – Tokyo parks, gardens and more great hanami spots

The cold of winter has lifted and our great city is slowly switching gears into spring. In other words, Tokyo sakura season is just around the corner – the Meteorological Agency’s latest cherry blossom forecast sets the opening date for March 22, while ‘peak bloom’ is expected at around March 31. Although these divinations tend to change frequently the closer we get to the end of this month, there’s still no harm in planning ahead for your hanami. Here’s our pick of sakura-related events taking place in and around Tokyo, from lit-up gardens to full-on spring festivals, plus a few suggestions for your picnic basket.

The best sakura sweets

Chomeiji Sakuramochi

This Mukojima store was founded in 1717 by the father of sakuramochi – a pink rice cake (mochi) with a sweet red bean paste centre, all wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf. Peel off the leaf to take in the sakura aroma, and then eat the mochi with the leaf for the perfect combo of sweet and salty. Ideal for hanami by the Sumida River...

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Mukojima

More sakura spots

Yoyogi Park

Possibly the city's most popular location for cherry blossom viewing – but also one of Tokyo's most crowded, rowdy and dirty ones...

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Harajuku

Asukayama Park

Along with Ueno Park, Asukayama Park is one of the oldest in Tokyo, and people from all over the city have been coming here to see the sakura in spring ever since shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune had the trees planted in the first half of the 18th century...

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Oji

Arisugawa Park

An undulating park, Arisugawanomiya Memorial Park has been landscaped to take advantage of nature. During the Edo period, the grounds were originally the suburban residence for the Daimyo of the Morioka Nanbu clan...

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Hiroo
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Shinjuku Gyoen

Recommended

You might not expect to find tranquility in bustling Shinjuku, but stump up the meagre ¥200 entrance fee and step into the entirely different world of Shinjuku Gyoen, possibly Tokyo’s most beautiful green space. Come sakura season, the whole place erupts into so much riotous pink, you’d be forgiven for thinking a Pride march had rolled through town...

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Shinjuku-Sanchome
Meguro River

Meguro River

Another long-running favourite, the banks of the Meguro River always get packed with hanami-goers around the end of March. If possible, avoid crowds by moving away from the area around Nakameguro Station...

Inokashira Park

Located just 15 minutes from the centre of Tokyo, this Kichijoji park has more than enough to occupy you for an afternoon, including a zoo, a pond with amusingly shaped rental boats, and playground facilities – plus some of the city's most spectacular cherry blossoms...

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Kichijoji
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