Get your tarp ready because the Tokyo cherry blossom season is finally here!
After learning that we would be spending six months in Tokyo for work, my first thought was “I really hope those six months go over spring” and luckily they do! We arrived in Tokyo at the end of January, which gave us just enough time to settle in with the winter still outside our window, and mentally and logistically prepare for the beautiful madness that is the Tokyo cherry blossom season.
Already during the first weeks of March, I was scouting different parks around Tokyo, and even then I saw some early cherry blossoms starting to appear, and I got way too excited, but those little lonely trees did not prepare me for just how gorgeous the city becomes when it all blooms at the same time.
So to save you all those trips I took back and forth between parks to compare, here is a list of the most beautiful locations to enjoy the magic of the Tokyo cherry blossom season.
Chidorigafuchi Sakura Park: River view with dangling cherry blossom branches
While researching for my own Tokyo sakura-chasing adventure I saw a few websites recommending the Imperial Palace as a place to enjoy the cherry blossoms, and while there are some sakura trees inside the property, I would recommend skipping this and instead following the Palace’s moat from the outside to get a stunning view of the blossoms dangling from lush slopes and hanging right over the water.
To get this postcard-worthy view of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, you have to arrive at the Chidorigafuchi Park, a narrow park that follows the Chidorigafuchi moat and is covered in white petaled trees, and offers some benches for some serious sakura admiring.
The key is to walk from Chidorigafuchi park up to Kudanzaka Park to enjoy the cherry blossoms along the water and arrive at the view of the cute rental boats rowing on the lake close to the cherry blossoms branches.
If you want to take part in the fun and rent a boat, make sure to arrive early in the day to pick up your timed ticket.
Also, an added feature to the Chidorigafuchi Park is that at night the cherry blossoms are illuminated, which gives a completely different vibe to how they look during the day, so no matter the time of day there is always some sakura in Tokyo to enjoy.
Coffee and food around Chidorigafuchi Sakura Park:
- Brooklyn Roasting Company Tokyo International Forum: Great coffee in a very central location of Tokyo, also has seating space, wifi, and electric outlets
- And Coffee Roasters in Hibiya Central Market: Small coffee shop on the third floor of Hibiya Central Market
- Ginza Kagari Main Branch: Incredibly popular, and delicious, chicken ramen spot, holds a Bib Gourmand
- Bistro Fukumimi Corridor: A modern take on izakaya that feels luxurious but is still quite affordable
- Sushi no Midori Ginza: One of the most popular sushi spots in Ginza, locals will line up here for lunch
Yoyogi Park: Best garden in Tokyo for hanami
Set in the heart of Tokyo, I have visited Yoyogi park numerous times since arriving here back in winter, and even then it was a beautiful green escape from the buzzing city, but now as March goes on, the place has truly become what Tokyo sakura dreams are made of.
Yoyogi Park is undeniably the best garden in Tokyo for hanami due to its long cherry blossom promenade with lots of space for laying down a blanket—or a tarp, as the Japanese do— and enjoying an afternoon of eating and drinking with friends.
Yoyogi Park is also one of the best places to enjoy the Tokyo cherry blossom season since there is no entrance fee, the park is located in the middle of all the action, close to busy Shibuya, you can bring alcohol into Yoyogi park, and even if you don’t find a spot right under the main cherry blossom avenue there are many more cherry blossom trees spread out throughout the park to find refuge under.
During the Tokyo Cherry Blossom season there are also some food trucks in the park offering all kinds of snacks, from Japanese friend donuts to ice cream, coffee, and homemade sandwiches.
So don’t worry if you forget to pack your picnic, just take yourself to the park and you can get some snacks there too.
Coffee and food around Yoyogi Park:
- Camelback Sandwich & Espresso: Tiny rustic coffee shop, recognized by the Monocle Book of Japan for its premium coffee skills and unique egg sandwich
- Coffee Supreme Tokyo: Two steps away from Camelback, a modern-looking cafe with great espresso-based drinks
- Fuglen Tokyo: Norwegian cafe offering waffles and great coffee
- Ichiran Ramen: Popular and reliable ramen chain popular with locals and tourists alike
- Oreryu Shio Ramen Jingu-mae: Locals line up for their variety of ramen bowls
Meguro River: Sakura-lined river in a cute neighborhood
Another unmissable location to admire the cherry blossom season in Tokyo is the Meguro River Cherry Blossom Promenade, a long stretch of sakura growing over the Meguro River, all in the middle of a quaint neighborhood with cafes, restaurants, and independent shops.
During the Tokyo cherry blossom season, the promenade following the river is also lined with street vendors selling street food, sakura-themed snacks, and my favorite, glasses of rosé, to enjoy during your lovely walk under the dreamy Tokyo sakura.
To get a different view of the trees and the cozy streets, make sure to come back here at night, between 6-8 pm when the trees are lit up and the little lanterns are glowing red, it’s a very different ambiance compared to the daytime.
The Meguro River is without a doubt one of the most stunning locations to admire the famous Tokyo cherry blossom season.
Coffee and food around Meguro River Cherry Blossom Promenade
- Streamer Coffee Company: Strong generous lattes and delicious egg breakfast sandwiches
- Sidewalk Stand Coffee: Tiny coffee stand serving espresso-based drinks to go
- Craft, tea, coffee: French boutique meets art bookshop meets cafe
- Uoichi Sushi: Quaint local sushi spot with some of the best sushi I have had
- Afuri Nakameguro: A local favorite ramen spot, steps away from the Nakameguro station and the Meguro Cherry Blossom Promenade
Shinjuku Gyeon National Garden: Best garden in Tokyo for quieter Hanami
Shinjuku Gyeon National Garden quickly became one of my favorite gardens in Tokyo, even before the sakura season started, and once those white blooms started to show up you could not stop me from visiting.
The Shinjuku National Garden is a vast area of open grass spaces, perfect for hanami, but what I loved the most about it is the distribution of the cherry blossoms, instead of being focused on one main promenade they are spread throughout the whole park.
And while there is a main section of the park with the green open space for hanami with cherry blossoms lining the way, if you venture out you can find quieter areas in the park with some of the oldest and tallest cherry blossom trees I have seen in my life.
The only downfall/perk is that there is a fee to access the park, 500 yen, the good part is that this might make it less busy than somewhere like Yoyogi Park, a downfall besides the fact that you have to pay, is that because this park is more regulated you are not allowed to bring any alcohol inside. So no rosé sipping in this park.
I would highly recommend checking the website of the Shinjuku Gyeon National Park before visiting since some specific dates of the Tokyo cherry blossom season do require a reservation.
But if you can survive hanami without alcohol and don’t mind a little bit of logistical planning, I can guarantee you this park is absolutely worth it!
Coffee and food around Shinjuku Gyeon National Garden:
- Verve Coffee Roasters: Amazing coffee with great attention to detail, some of their signature coffees are unexpected but delicious, they also offer waffles and hot sandwiches
- Blue Bottle Coffee Shinjuku: A reliable coffee chain with excellent coffee
- Be a good neighbor coffee kiosk: Cute coffee kiosk a few steps away from Shinjuku National Garden
- Soba House Konjiki-Hototogisu: Michelin star ramen, get there early
- Oedo Shijukuminamiguchiten: Delicious and affordable sushi conveyor belt restaurant
- Ichiran Ramen: Popular and reliable ramen chain popular with locals and tourists alike
Asakusa Senso-ji Temple
When I visited Asakusa for the first time back in January I was so excited to come back in spring to get the view of the Senso-ji temple in the back with the cherry blossoms glowing in the front, and while there are some sakura in the area, there are not as many as I thought, but it still makes for a picturesque view, and if you are visiting Tokyo you should anyway visit Asakusa, so if you can do it in spring, even better.
The Senso-ji temple is very impressive, and the small street that leads up to it is highly entertaining, but in the spirit of spring, one of my favorite elements of the temple has to be the vibrant Koi fish swimming under the little stone bridge, which looked especially on theme swimming in the cherry blossom petals.
Food and coffee around Asakusa Temple
- Fuglen Asakusa: Norwegian cafe offering waffles and great coffee
- Sukemasa Coffee: Cafe serving attractive fruit sandwiches and great coffee
- Asakusa Menchi: Popular place for Japanese fried pork bites
- Anshin’ya: Popular spot with the locals for Taiwanese fried chicken
- Asakusa Kagetsudo: Popular place that is known for Melon pan, a sweet fluffy bread
Special mentions for cherry blossoms in Tokyo:
Ueno Sakura Promenade
Lots of websites mention the Ueno Sakura promenade as a must in Tokyo, but honestly, I disagree. The trees are not that big, there is not much space to sit down under the sakura, it is just a busy pedestrian lane with some sakura on the sides.
I would highly recommend Meguro River Cherry Blossom Promenade, Yoyogi Park, and Shinjuku Gyeon National Garden over this one, but if you have the extra time and have visited all the other ones you can also add this one to the list.
Shibuya Sakura Street
This is mostly for a photo opp, there are some nice lanterns and sakura lined one-way street.
Minato City Shiba Park by Tokyo Tower
There is not a big sakura garden here, but there are a few trees here, and if framed correctly, you can get a nice shot of the sakura and the Tokyo Tower in the back.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it helps you plan out your strategy for making the most out of the stunning Tokyo cherry blossom season. Which one of these places is at the top of your list to see the Cherry blossoms in Tokyo?