Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo

In late March and April, Japan welcomes cherry blossoms, otherwise known as sakura (桜). These soft pink and white flowers are said to be true harbingers of spring, as seeing one in means winter is over. Nowhere is more evident than in the city of Tokyo, as the metropolis is full of places for viewing the ephemeral flower. While right now we are in the throes of winter before you know it, cherry blossoms will penetrate every corner of the city,

If you’re hoping to get yourself some prime petal-gazing spots this season, then look no further. Around these months, you’ll see people setting up picnic rugs at the park, under rows of cherry blossom trees, or playing outdoor sports while doing the mandatory hanami (花見), which means flower viewing.

Read on for our favorite places to view the sakura throughout Tokyo!

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Tip: Day hanami is common, but don’t forget about how majestic cherry blossoms look at night. We recommend taking a cool stroll under the starry nights with cherry blossoms when you have the chance.

Cherry Blossom Forecast in Japan

cherry blossoms in japan infographic

Similar to Momiji (autumn leaf viewing in Japan), sakura is known to only have a 2-week lifespan. This is why many people take the opportunity to enjoy Sakura during the nice weather before the rain blows all the petals off.

Because different regions of Japan experience spring at different times due to different weather, the full bloom of sakura blossoms differ as well. Okinawa is the first place to be to see cherry blossoms bloom because of the warmer climate. The last place where cherry blossom blooms are Hokkaido, the north and coldest region of Japan — around late April.

When you are enjoying cherry blossoms in Tokyo, it’s good to know that some parks provide a free mat, while some famous Hanami locations feature chairs and tables. To be safe, we recommend bringing your own picnic mat. There will be food stalls in particular spots, but take this time to enjoy your own food and drinks: bento boxes, sakura-themed snacks and sweets. A lot of people like to drink beer during this time too, with breweries releasing seasonal cans with designs of cherry blossoms.

Remember to bring disposable plates and cups; wet tissue and paper towels; and trash bags. It’s great if you enjoyed your picnic, but we want other people to enjoy theirs, too. Keep in mind some of these important hanami etiquettes:

  • Clean up before you leave. Don’t leave small trashes or expect a worker to clean up your mess. Instead, bring them home or dispose of them in designated locations.
  • The cherry blossoms are beautiful, but their trees are delicate. Never snap off the branches to take home with you.
  • Don’t be too noisy or play loud music in public.

These are just some of the common hanami etiquette you have to be mindful of. Before visiting any of the parks, please be sure to check beforehand the rules.

8 Places to Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo

Some areas that come highly recommended include Urayasu Civic Center Plaza near Tokyo Disneyland, Rikugien Gardens, Tokyo Midtown, Shinjuku Gyoen, Sumida Park near Tokyo Skytree, and Yasukuni Shrine close to Kudanshita Station. From traditional temples to neon-lit roving spots downtown that are sure to take your breath away, the city truly is a magical place to see cherry blossoms.

These spots are also famous for winter illumination sightseeing!

Tokyo Midtown

Tokyo Midtown isn’t just Tokyo’s trendiest shopping and entertainment center. It’s also a prime destination to take in the beauty of Tokyo’s lovely sakura season. The area has become well-known for its magnificent cherry blossoms that light up the Midtown skyline each spring. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through Tokyo Midtown’s wide pathways as they admire the bright pastel pink and white petals that decorate the landscape around them. Besides the sakura, this spot also provides an unbeatable view of Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree from its central location. Whether you want to grab a date, host an outdoor event, hit up a luxury brand store or just enjoy a peaceful day admiring nature, experiencing Tokyo Midtown’s cherry blossom viewing event is truly incomparable and an ideal way to observe the ever-present beauty of Tokyo’s skyline.

Don’t miss out on this come springtime! 

nakameguro cherry blossoms tokyo

Meguro River

If you’re looking for one of the most spectacular experiences Japan has to offer, look no further than the Meguro River in spring. It’s one of Japan’s most photographed places.

Every spring, the nearly eight hundred cherry trees that line both sides of the riverbank turn it into a vibrantly colored tunnel that is nothing less than stunning. While every city in Japan offers its own unique spin on sakura season, where crowds swarm parks and shrines with cameras in hand to capture as many shots as they can before the blossoms inevitably wilt. There’s something truly magical about what Meguro River brings to bear: hordes of blooms spread over two kilometers that attract visitors from all around and make them feel like they’ve stepped inside an enchanted painting.

Meguro River is a romantic spot. If you’re looking for sakura with lively activities to boot, Urayasu Civic Center Plaza has you covered.

Urayasu Civic Center Plaza

One of the coolest spots to witness the captivating beauty of sakura is the Urayasu Civic Center Plaza during their annual cherry blossom viewing event. It was originally established as an open-air place for local citizens to gather in 1989, and has since evolved into a buzzing hub of culture and inspiration. As Tokyo’s largest civic center plaza, visitors are able to appreciate nearly two thousand sakura trees in all their glory, standing amidst a lively atmosphere of shops, restaurants, parks, and recreational activities. 

After taking some lovely pictures with friends or family, visitors can also take part in hanami picnics beneath the blooming sakura. As night falls, the amusements range from beer gardens to outdoor concerts. Of course, one must take a few moments to lie down and gaze up at Tokyo’s blue sky during the day or starry sky in between the branches of pink petals. It’s an unforgettable experience.

Rikugien Garden

Another one of Tokyo’s spectacular sakura attractions is Rikugien Gardens. Home to Tokyo’s oldest sakura trees planted around 1700, it offers not only a peaceful oasis away from Tokyo’s bustling streets, but also a stunning view when the eight hundred cherry trees are in full bloom.

There are featured sights like the Hill of Waves–a tranquil pond surrounded by a walking path offering views from multiple vantages–all providing a backdrop to countless blooming pink and white petals as far as the eyes can see. These breathtaking scenes attract hordes of visitors each year, taking in nature’s beauty with camera-clicking snapshots, having light picnics called hanami, listening to traditional Japanese music performances and enjoying elegant tea ceremonies among the blossoms. At night, the trees are illuminated, which gives them an even more majestic and magnificent feel. Make sure to experience this Tokyo spring tradition yourself!

Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo in 2023

Sumida Park

Another ideal place to revel in the beauty of cherry blossoms sits east of Tokyo and is just a few minutes’ walk from Asakusa Station. Sumida Park is a river-side area hosting hundreds of sakura trees illuminated with traditional Japanese lanterns. 

Sumida Park was built in 1923, and after being private land for a while, it was opened to the public in 1931. The park actually flanks both sides of the Sumida River with two bridges to travel between either side. Sakura trees line each side. By the entrance of the park, you’ll find the dock of the Tokyo Water Bus, which you can ride to Odaiba.

There are modern sculptures around the western side of the park, a playground for children and spots to get unusual views of Tokyo Skytree and the Asahi Beer Tower.  Other public facilities include a sports center with tennis courts and a swimming pool and Tully’s café. The park also holds its well-known Sumida River Fireworks Festival in late July, so check them out if you happen to be around then. Whether visitors come alone or with friends, Sumida Park showcases Tokyo’s elegant yet rustic beauty in ways that remain timelessly captivating.

Close to Sumida Park, you’ll also find Honryuin Temple, Imada Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, Sumida Heritage Museum and a few other places! You can make an awesome walking tour of the day.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Next up on the list is Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Boasting over 1,500 cherry blossom trees and just a short walk from Shinjuku station, this large park has an interesting history. It was originally a residence of a feudal lord during the Edo period, transferred to the Imperial family at the start of the 1900s and all but destroyed during World War II. Fortunately for us, it was then rebuilt and opened to the public in 1949.

Shinjuku Gyoen is the ideal destination for experiencing Tokyo’s beloved cherry blossoms. Every year, you can find multitudes of Tokyoites and tourists alike leisurely strolling through the park’s walkways and enjoying a magnificent floral backdrop. You could bring or rent a bike and see the park on wheels, too. Further, not only can visitors enjoy the famously multicolored sakura trees, but they can also enjoy a picnic beneath them surrounded by luscious greenery.

If you thought Shinjuku Gyoen had an interesting history, the next spot on this list has a dramatic past as well.

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo is a Shrine that commemorates those who fought and died for their motherland in wars beginning in the 19th century. Politically speaking, it’s considered a controversial place. However, far from politics and controversy lies our focus–the cherry blossoms during spring. 

Catching sakura at their peak can be a tricky game as they only bloom for about a week. Moreover, factors like tree variety, sun, shade, wind and rain can all affect the delicate bloom in that week. For example, different tree varieties in the same area won’t bloom at exactly the same time; wind and rain cause the flower petals to fall faster, etc. That’s why the Japan Meteorological Agency has sample trees around Japan that help them track the bloom throughout Japan.

One of the most interesting sakura-related facts about Yasukuni Shrine is that it is home to a sample tree that the Japan Meteorological Agency uses as a benchmark for the arrival of spring in the Tokyo area. The tree was revealed in 2012 and became pretty famous among viewers. 

Another cool fact about the shrine is that every spring, a sumo tournament is hosted there. Tokyo’s warm climate combined with the city’s iconic sakura makes for a picturesque backdrop of a Tokyo tradition. This sport brings with it a rich past and cultural significance that Japan has shared with visitors for hundreds of years. Attendees can watch ozumo competitors step into the ring and make history as champions are crowned.

If you could manage to see this tournament against a sakura backdrop, you’d be one lucky soul.

Yasukuni Shrine is located in Chiyoda, and you can walk there from Iidabashi Station or Kudanshita Station. If you get the chance to go to Yasukuni Shrine, you should also hop over the boulevard to Chiyoda Park and Chidorigafuchi to get an equally beautiful view of cherry blossoms. 

Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo in 2023

Chidorigafuchi Park

Chidorigafuchi Park has a remarkable history. Nestled against the Tokyo Imperial Palace and scattered with hundreds of sakura trees, its picturesque view has attracted visitors from all around the world since it opened in the late 1960s. Indeed, its sublime beauty is steeped in centuries of local tradition. It was first built by the Tokugawa Shogunate around the 1640s as a means of defense and flood control. It was the moats and waterways of the Edo Castle. But after Tokyo was remodeled in an orderly grid form with Western-style boulevards, this former strategic asset diminished in importance and became a popular recreational spot. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely boat ride up the moat at Chidorigafuchi surrounded by Tokyo’s iconic cherry blossoms in spring. There is also a famously splendid lantern festival in the summer that you can check out if you happen to be in Tokyo then.

 A word to the wise–over 1 million visitors flock to this area every spring season, so if you want to rent a boat, arrive at the park early.

Cherry Blossom Season Vocabulary

Cherry blossom season vocabulary
Cherry blossom season vocabulary

Now that cherry blossom season is nearing in Japan right now, it might be a good idea to introduce some Japanese words that you might come across in spring. You already know a few of them, but let’s expand your knowledge of sakura-related vocabulary!

sakuracherry blossoms
mankai満開full bloom
hanami花見cherry blossom viewing
sakurazensen桜前線cherry blossom front (the advance of the cherry blossoms across Japan)
kaikayosou開花予想blossom forecast
hanamidango花見ダンゴhanami dumpling
Sakuramochi桜餅anko-filled pink mochi wrapped in a cherry leaf
Sakurafubuki桜吹雪flower storm (when cherry blossom petals flow in the wind)
chirihajime散り始め(petals and leaves) begin falling
hazakura葉桜the trees have turned green (leaves have replaced the pink petals)
sakihajime咲き始めstarted o bloom


So there you have it, folks! A list of the best places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Have you been to any of these spots already? Perhaps you know of others that aren’t listed here.  From the historic Yasukuni Shrine to the modern and lively Tokyo Midtown, there’s a sakura scene with a vibe to fit every taste. If you come during the right week, you may be able to see a full bloom in all of these spots in one trip. 

From celebrations to traditional artwork, hopefully, this article helps you find the perfect place to uncover and admire these beautiful blooms and what they truly represent to people who live in Japan. 

Want to enjoy the beauty of sakura while learning Japanese?

Would you like to explore the beauty in Japan, immersed in its culture — while learning more about the language? Coto Academy provides bespoke Japanese language courses for both short-term visitors and residents of Japan. In Tokyo or Yokohama, we’ll match you with the right lesson plan that fits your goal and life.

Contact us for a free course consultation!

When can you see cherry blossoms in Tokyo?

You can enjoy the sakura flowers’ full bloom in late March to early April in Tokyo.

How long do cherry blossoms last in Japan?

Cherry blossoms have a 2-week lifespan. In Tokyo, the cherry blossoms start blooming in the last week of March. Then, they hit full bloom (known as “mankai” in Japanese) in a week. About a week after that, most of the blossoms have fallen off the trees.

Where is the best place for cherry blossom in Tokyo?

Tokyo’s most famous and popular cherry blossom viewing spot is in Nakameguro River, Ueno, Chidorigafuchi Park, Sumida Park and Shinjuku National Park.

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