While there are many lists for Japan’s best sakura spots, I wanted to focus on what we can do within the city! There are endless options for seeing sakura in Tokyo, from the Imperial Palace to Tokyo Bay and Shinjuku Gyoen to Yoyogi Park. The thought of having so many awesome places to check out can be a bit overwhelming, but lucky for you, I will be your guide to have a great sakura day!
Our first stop is for the history buffs! Asukayama Park dates back to the Edo period when the 8th Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, planted the first sakura trees and made the park open to the public, making it one of the oldest spots for cherry blossom viewing. The park features some of the original trams from 1950 that ran along the Toden Arakawa Line (which we’ll talk about in a second), a free monorail called the Asukargo that takes you to the top of Asukayama, and over 600 cherry trees!
The park itself is one of the best places to see sakura in the city, but getting there may also be one of the highlights. Rather than taking the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line to Oji Station, we recommend you take the Toden Arakawa Line (aka the Tokyo Sakura Tram, aptly nick-named as it’s one of the best ways to enjoy cherry blossoms) from Minowabashi Station.
The tram will truly make your experience of Asukayama way more adventurous as the Arakawa Line is the only surviving streetcar system of the once extensive Tokyo Toden network! I recommend getting a day pass so you can hop on and off along the line from Minowabashi Station on your way to Okiekimae Station at the bottom of Asukayama Park!
Another great sakura season day trip is to go to the largest park in Tokyo! It’s about 30-35 minutes from central Tokyo, and costs ¥450 for those over 15, but we fully believe that the extra time and cost for Showa Memorial Park is worth it. The park is over 162 hectares (400 acres) with rental bicycles, cafes, restaurants, shops, and more!
It is often referred to as one of the best flower parks in Tokyo because when it’s not full of the pink and white colors of sakura in the spring, you can find hydrangea and sunflowers in the summer, and cosmos and ginkgo trees in the autumn.
Access is super easy, too! You can take the JR Chuo Line to Nishi-Tachikawa and you’re right on its doorstep!
This is also one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots because of its versatility! Access is really easy, as you can take either the Hibiya Metro Line or the Tokyu Toyoko Line to Nakameguro Station to see the main area. You’ll be able to find the river by following the many people who are walking towards the Japanese cherry blossoms!
During the day you can expect to see over 800 cherry trees lining either side of the river, and during peak bloom, it can look spectacular! Although the pandemic may have halted the annual cherry blossom festival the last couple of years, there are still many stalls selling food and drinks along the road beside the river.
The best part of the Meguro River is that you can do yozakura, or night flower viewing! Usually there are lanterns hung up along the trees that light up the amazing sakura, which makes for a whole new experience from seeing them during the day! Even with the ongoing pandemic, the night time atmosphere with all the people gathering, enjoying the local shops, and taking in cherry blossoms is something very unique, and highly recommended!
I did mention how versatile the Meguro River is for hanami, right? Well it’s because it has access from another vantage point! If you’re not into the bigger crowds, you can see it from the quieter side by taking the Denentoshi Line to Ikejiri-ohashi Station. Either way you go, you really can’t go wrong with heading to the Nakameguro area to see the sakura!
Ueno Park is another great place to spend a day to enjoy the cherry blossoms! It’s one of the biggest parks in Tokyo, and has a number of cool things to check out, like the Ueno Zoo, a temple, shrine, and museums! And if you timed it right, you could have picked up Starbucks Japan’s Sakura 2022 Drinks at the uniquely designed Starbucks store right in the park!
Getting there is a breeze, too! Just take one of the many train lines to Ueno Station. Seriously, there’s 10 lines all converging at Ueno Station, and that’s without counting the Shinkansen lines!
Just like the Meguro River, Ueno Park also has an annual sakura festival, called Ueno Sakura Matsuri. Although it hasn’t been held the last couple of years, it would bring in large crowds of all ages! With the lights there, you can also do some yozakura in Ueno Park and try your hand with the many food and drink vendors!
There really is an endless amount of things that sakura season brings to Japan! With the many sakura flavors fusions you can try every year, and being able to see sakura from a roller coaster at Tokyo’s biggest amusement park, you can tell that the cherry blossoms are a significant part of Japanese culture!
Where would you like to spend a day to check out the famed sakura trees? Let me know below!
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