1. Inokashira Park
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaWinter cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park
  2. Inokashira Park
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaWinter cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park
  3. winter cherry blossoms, Tokyo park
    Photo: Lim Chee WahWinter cherry blossoms at Rinshi-no-mori Park
  4. Sakura Jingu Shrine
    Photo: Tabea GreunerSakura Jingu Shrine

Where to see winter cherry blossoms in Tokyo

No need to wait until spring – here are the best parks, gardens and shrines in Tokyo to see these early-blooming sakura

Youka Nagase
Written by
Youka Nagase
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Japan’s cherry blossoms are expected to bloom around the same time as usual this year. Although spring is the most popular time to see these flowers, you can still catch beautiful sakura during winter from mid-February onwards in several parks, gardens and shrines around Tokyo.

You’ll most commonly come across kawazu-zakura, a pastel pink cherry blossom native to Shizuoka prefecture that usually peaks between February and March depending on the location. Unlike the spring cherry blossoms, which only last about a week, these have a longer lifespan of around a month. The other winter sakura are the kanhi-zakura, which are more of a vivid pink colour, growing on bigger trees that are roughly ten metres tall. 

Here are the best locations around the city where you can enjoy cherry blossoms early, before the bustling hanami season arrives. 

RECOMMENDED: Not in Tokyo? These are the best sightseeing spots for winter cherry blossoms across Japan

Where to see sakura early

Sakura Jingu Shrine

This local shrine in Shinmachi certainly lives up to its name. It boasts two kawazu-zakura cherry blossom trees standing behind its massive torii gate. You’ll find pink ribbons tied onto the branches with handwritten wishes from visitors, adding even more pink to the scene. To leave your own wish for the year, you can purchase a ribbon for ¥500. 

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Harajuku

One of Tokyo’s most popular picnic spots, Yoyogi Park’s expansive lawn is a welcome oasis of greenery in the busier part of the city. The park is usually packed during hanami season in spring, but the winter-blooming kawazu-zakura cherry blossoms in the central plaza are not to be missed – they’re just as pretty as the springtime sakura. 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Musashi-Koyama

This gigantic park located between Musashi-Koyama and Fudomae stations has several kawazu-zakura cherry blossom trees planted on its spacious lawn. The pink petals stand out from the towering green trees surrounding them and are expected to be in bloom until the beginning of March.

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Kyunaka River

The scenic walk along the Kyunaka River features 26 kawazu-zakura trees that start to bloom as early as the last week of January. Get off at Hirai Station and follow the JR Sobu line towards the river, where you’ll find plenty of space to sit on the grass and admire the cherry blossoms. It's also possible to enjoy the flowers with a spectacular view of Tokyo Skytree.

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  • Hotels
  • Mejirodai

Hotel Chinzanso is known for its historic Japanese garden with 120 beautiful sakura trees and a three-tiered pagoda. Despite being in central Tokyo, it’s one of the least crowded places to enjoy the cherry blossoms. In winter, we adore the blooms on the impressive kawazu-zakura tree, which stands right next to the pagoda, as well as the Osaka-fuyuzakura tree at the entrance of the Sky Terrace viewing platform.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Kiyosumi

Around 100 kawazu-zakura trees are planted just outside Kiba Park’s Fureai Hiroba entrance along the Oyoko River. The cherry blossoms here have already started blooming, so we can expect to see full bloom in mid-February. Each tree here seems to be on its own schedule, but don’t worry – these flowers are known for their long lifespan.

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  • Things to do
  • Shiba-Koen

Shiba Park makes a great picnic spot, especially with the kawazu-zakura and kanhi-zakura cherry blossom trees planted around the park. If you’re lucky, you can snap a photo of the pink blossoms with Tokyo Tower in the background. 

Sakura season inspo

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