Ashikaga Flower Park1/5
Photo: Ashikaga Flower ParkWisteria at Ashikaga Flower Park
Fuji Shibazakura Festival2/5
Photo: Fuji Shibazakura FestivalFuji Shibazakura Festival
Hitachi Seaside Park3/5
Photo: Hitachi Seaside ParkNemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park
Showa Kinen Park4/5
Photo: Showa Kinen Park Tulips at Showa Kinen Park
Kanda River5/5
Photo: Picture Cells/PixtaKanda River cherry blossoms

The most beautiful spring flowers in Tokyo – and where to see them all

Cherry blossoms aren't the only blooms in season. Here are the most beautiful spring flowers to see in Greater Tokyo

By Kaila Imada and Tabea Greuner
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The enduring icon of spring in Japan, cherry blossoms are practically synonymous with the country itself, attracting hordes of admirers from across the world every season. While cherry blossoms generally flower in mid-April, recent years have seen them blooming earlier and earlier, and they usually last no longer than a couple of weeks.

So if you missed the cherry trees at peak bloom, fret not – there are lots of other floral sights you can find that are just as beautiful in their own way. And the best part is, there’s always something putting out its petals in Tokyo during spring, from late March right through to May.

RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to cherry blossom season in Tokyo

Tulips

Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park
Photo: Showa Kinen Park

When to see them: usually end of March through to April

When we think of tulips, we usually associate them with the Netherlands, calling to mind football fields of colourful flowers set against a picturesque backdrop of windmills. Well, good news: you can also find this highly photogenic scene in Greater Tokyo, right down to the windmill.

Sakura Furusato Square
Sakura Furusato Square
Photo: Sakura City

Sakura Furusato Square

Every year, the Sakura Furusato Square in Chiba hosts the Kanto region’s largest tulip festival. Here you’ll find more than 800,000 blooms of 100 different tulip types, complete with a Dutch-style windmill in the background for an added touch of authenticity. You can even dress up in traditional Dutch costumes for a stroll through the colourful flower beds.

April 1-26.

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Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park
Photo: Showa Kinen Park

Showa Kinen Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Tachikawa

Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa is famous for its year-round beautiful flowers. A visit in spring lets you enjoy its massive tulip garden with about 250,000 tulips of 284 varieties. Set amid lush nature, some of the flower beds feature flowing streams, which add to the appeal of the picture-perfect landscape.

End-March to end-April.

Wisteria

Ashikaga Flower Park
Ashikaga Flower Park
Photo: Ashikaga Flower Park

When to see them: usually mid-April to mid-May

Wisteria vines produce gorgeous pastel coloured flowers that resemble dripping beads, so they're often grown on trellises or formed into a tunnel. It creates a fairy tale-like experience as you walk under the hanging violet, blue, pink or white blooms.

Ashikaga Flower Park
Ashikaga Flower Park
Photo: Ashikaga Flower Park

Ashikaga Flower Park

Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi prefecture is one of the top destinations in Japan for wisteria. About 350 bushes bloom from mid-April to mid-May, but keep an eye out for the 150-year-old plant, which features hundreds of wisteria blooms dangling from a massive construct of wooden trellises. Come nighttime, the huge, mature tree is lit up and its reflection on the water’s surface is stunning. You'll also find a variety of wisteria tunnels in the park, which are fun to walk through.

Don’t miss the park’s seasonal snacks and beverages, including a unique wisteria soft-serve with a floral aroma.

April 17-May 23.

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Jindai Botanical Gardens
Jindai Botanical Gardens
Photo: Jindai Botanical Gardens

Jindai Botanical Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Chofu

For a more relaxed wisteria excursion, head towards Tokyo’s Chofu area, where the huge Jindai Botanical Garden is home to a large selection of flowers. The end of April through to May sees about 50 wisteria plants of 13 different kinds in bloom, including those on an 85m-long and 5.8m-wide trellis that’s home to white and violet blossoms.

End-April to early May.

Nemophila

Hitachi Seaside Park
Hitachi Seaside Park
Photo: Hitachi Seaside Park

When to see them: usually from mid-April to early May

Nemophila or ‘baby blue eyes’ are small blue flowers which are actually considered a herb. The plant grows close to the ground, and in spring, countless flowers turn entire areas into a sea of gorgeous blue underfoot.

Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park
Photo: Showa Kinen Park

Showa Kinen Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Tachikawa

Showa Kinen Park in Tokyo’s Tachikawa neighbourhood is a wonderful spot to view these tiny blue flowers. The ¥450 entry not only gives you access to the nemophila, but other seasonal flowers as well, including tulips and cherry blossoms.

The baby blue eyes are spread across a small hill opposite the tulip fields and they’re surrounded by lush nature. The area may not be as large as some of the other nemophila spots in Japan, but the fact that this park is within Tokyo makes it a convenient option for those with limited time.

Mid-April to early May.

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

Hitachi Seaside Park

Things to do

One of the most popular spots to catch a sea of baby blue eyes is Hitachi Seaside Park up in Ibaraki prefecture. The park is approximately 85 minutes by express train (plus an additional 15-minute bus ride) from Shinagawa Station and it’s home to a number of different flowers including narcissus, tulips, poppies and sunflowers (they each bloom at different times).

Here you’ll find roughly 5.3 million nemophila flowers during the season and they run up rolling hills, making for beautiful scenery against the clear blue sky and the nearby ocean.

Mid-April to early May.

Shibazakura

Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Photo: Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Usually from mid-April to late May

Moss phlox, or shibazakura, is a beautiful, low-growing, creeping evergreen that turns into a giant floral carpet during the flowering season. While pink is common, the fragrant flowers can also be found in bright colours including white, light purple and white with pink stripes, which are neatly groomed and landscaped in spring.

Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park
Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park
Photo: Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park

Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park

Located about 80 minutes from Ikebukuro Station via the Seibu Railway express train, Chichibu Hitsujiyama Park in Saitama hosts an annual Shibazakura Festival. The park is known for its perfectly manicured shibazakura, groomed into many different shapes, over the roughly 1.8-hectare area.

There are around 400,000 shibazakura here in nine different cultivars, with colours ranging from white and pink to blue. This year, the flowers can be seen from April 16 to May 5, and the entrance fee is ¥300.

April 16-May 5.

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Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Photo: Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Things to do Fuji Motosuko Resort,

Another stunning spot to catch these flowers is at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival near Lake Motosu in Yamanashi prefecture. On clear days, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of these beautiful flowers with Mt Fuji as a backdrop.

The area features more than 800,000 shibazakura in eight different varieties over the spacious 2.4-hectare area. There’s even a Mt Fuji topiary showpiece covered in pink and white flowers – it’s a very popular photo spot.

The festival is scheduled for April 17 to May 30 this year and it’s an approximately two-hour train ride from Shinjuku Station. Entrance is ¥800 for adults (junior high school students and older) and ¥250 for children.

April 17-May 30.

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Photo: Yukari Harada/Unsplash

When to see them: usually end of March to early April, but this year's sakura season has already ended

Cherry blossoms, known locally as sakura, are worth a trip to Japan on their own. In full bloom, the pink flowers, often packed in dense clusters across farreaching branches, are so profuse they look like giant pink clouds tethered to the ground by tangled wires. It’s a mesmerising sight that steals the show from everything else in the vicinity, and Japan’s nationwide fascination with the blooms inspires everything from ukiyo-e woodblock art to desserts and drinks.

Although cherry blossoms are thought of as pink, these delicate flowers actually vary in colour depending on the species; in Tokyo they are usually light pink in colour, or white with a pink centre. You’ll find these fleeting blooms across the capital, with popular spots like the Meguro River and Shinjuku Gyoen becoming sakura pilgrimage sites for both tourists and locals alike.

Kawagoe Shingashi River
Kawagoe Shingashi River
Photo: Chee Wah Lim

Kawagoe Shingashi River

If Tokyo’s Meguro River is your usual go-to sakura site, switch it up this year by heading out to Koedo in Saitama’s Kawagoe city, also known as ‘Little Edo’ for its historical streets and buildings. Behind the Hikawa Shrine you’ll find a gentle river flanked by grassy banks and cherry trees. Expect a gorgeous pink boulevard at peak bloom, but the river is especially photogenic near the end of the season when the water surface is completely covered in the fallen pink petals. You can even take a slow boat ride along the river.

End-March to early April.
Kawagoe, Kawagoeshi stations.

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Kunitachi sakura
Kunitachi sakura
Photo: C-geo/Pixta

Kunitachi

Located in western Tokyo, Kunitachi is one train stop away from Tachikawa’s Showa Kinen Park, one of the city’s top sakura spots. However, Kunitachi is worth a visit for its pink blossoms, too. The main road leading from Kunitachi Station towards Hitotsubashi University is lined with large cherry trees, which make for a scenic stroll while checking out the various shops, restaurants and cafés in the area. Walk up to some of the pedestrian overpasses for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the street in full bloom.

End-March to early April.
Kunitachi Station.

Kanda River
Kanda River
Photo: Picture Cells/Pixta

Kanda River

The Kanda River is a lesser-known sakura destination within central Tokyo that gets relatively little tourist traffic. Take the capital’s only remaining Toden tramline, the Arakawa Tram (also known as the Sakura Tram), all the way up to Waseda Station and the river is just a short walk away.

The scene here is similar to that at Meguro River but with far fewer crowds. The riversides and the bridges will be strung with festive pink lanterns, and since the cherry trees here are old, their sheer size and volume do make for a jaw-dropping impact when in full bloom.

End-March to early April.
Waseda Station.

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