The time has come: it's peak sakura season in Tokyo! We're sharing our Top 6 favourite spots so you can make the most of your time in Tokyo, or plan your next trip! From secret local hangouts, to famous insta-worthy spots – we'll give you the best tips and advice to enjoy your hanami, romantic date or solo cherry blossom walk.
- Zenpukuji River Park
- Inokashira Koen
- Shinjuku Gyoen
- Yanaka Cemetery
1. Zenpukuji River Park, Asagaya, West Tokyo
Why you'll love it: Hang out and hanami with the locals, minus the hordes of tourists!
The crowd: locals, families
Getting there: Take the Chuo/Sobu Line to Asagaya Station or the Marunouchi Line to Minami Asagaya Station and walk south
This is by far our favourite local hangout spot for hanami or a casual walk. We are biased though – when we first moved to Tokyo we lived in Asagaya and made some amazing memories here. We had our first hanami just days after getting married, got day-drunk with local families, ate amazing homemade good, shared laughs with friends and strangers and later celebrated our anniversary here every year.
The riverside park stretches for miles so you can have the most dreamy walk under the cherry blossoms, or bring your blue mat, some food and beer or sake to experience your own Tokyo hanami. It's easy to find a spot to sit here – unlike all the famous spots where you have to get in very early!
Before heading down to the river, pick up your spring wagashi and alcohol at the artisan stores in Asagaya's traditional shopping street: the Pearl Centre Shotengai. For bento and other meals, there are a few convenience stores near the main bridge by the river.
2. Nakameguro, South West Tokyo
Why you'll love it: One of the trendiest spots to snap a few shots & walk around eating street food, plus it gets even more beautiful at night!
The crowd: young & trendy, wealthy couples
Getting there: Get off at Nakameguro Station, go straight and turn left once you reach the river
Again, we're biased here! The day we got married we had a beautiful evening at Nakameguro, walking around with champagne and eating delicious food.
Nakameguro does get busy during peak season, but it's not a hanami spot so the foot traffic flows pretty well. We recommend turning up for sunset to get some lovely golden photos, then walk and eat street snacks while the sun fades and the lanterns slowly illuminate the blossoms. There's a lot of tasty street food to choose from (including the famous champagne with strawberries), but if you're looking for a meal at one of the canal-side restaurants, you'll want to book early. Window seats usually book out months in advance!
3. Kamakura, South of Tokyo
Why you'll love it: Kamakura is nostalgic and gorgeous in any season, but you can't beat temple sakura in this ancient town!
The crowd: all ages, lots of girl-dates
Getting there: Get to Kamakura Station, then take the Enoshima line to Hase
Kamakura may not officially be in Tokyo, but it's only an hour from Shinjuku or Tokyo station. This stunning temple town was booming during the samurai times, and became known for its temples, nature and culture.
The blossoms in Kamakura are beautiful wherever you go, but our favourite spot is Hase Dera; a large Buddhist temple with zen gardens, a restaurant and stunning hilltop views. Plus you can ride the charming Enoden Tram to get there! There are lots of great memories to be made here.
Once you're finished with your zen sakura walk, head back to Komachi Dori in the main town for traditional crafts and food, or take a walk along the beach near Hase Dera.
4. Inokashira Koen, Kichijoji, West Tokyo
Why you'll love it: this popular hanami spot comes complete with Tokyo's most romantic lake!
The crowd: young couples and groups of friends
Getting there: Take the Chuo/Sobu Line to Kichijoji Station and walk south, or take the Keio Inokashira Line to Inokashira Station
We've had a few blissful hanamis with friends, and romantic walks at this lovely sakura spot. If you want a long of hanami fun under the blossoms, gather a group of friends and head over early (before 8am) to grab the best spot. Once you've found your spot you can take a walk around the sparkling lake, or head back into town to pick up food and drinks. Then drink and laugh until the sun goes down!
If you're going as a couple, the swan boats may look like a fun thing to do but the urban legend says that couples who ride the boats won't last long! Instead, take a stroll around the lake, over the bridges and through the extensive gardens. You can even stop for ice cream and tea if the cafes are open. For dinner, check out Sopa restaurant in the park.
5. Shinjuku Gyoen, Central Tokyo
Why you'll love it: Central location, quiet, blossoms usually bloom earliest here
The crowd: All ages, mostly tourists
Getting there: Get off at Shinjuku-Gyoemmae station and walk south, or walk
This lovely park does have a small entrance fee, but it helps cover the maintenance of the manicured lawns. It also doesn't allow alcohol so you won't see any rowdy and messy hanami parties here! Perfect if you're looking for a quiet afternoon walk. The cherry trees are known to bloom earlier here than elsewhere, so avoid the crowds at Ueno, Yoyogi and other popular hanami spots. The garden is huge so don't forget to explore all the areas, including the large hothouse full of tropical plants.
6. Yanaka Cemetery Park, East Tokyo
Why you'll love it: close to Ueno Park (Tokyo's busiest hanami spot) but very quiet and mysterious
The crowd: locals, old people, cats
Getting there: Get of at Nippori Station and follow the signs to Yanaka Cemetery Park
This may not be a typical recommendation, but it is unique! This beautiful old cemetery is filled with famous graves – war heroes, samurais, poets, Tokugawa shoguns and more. You'll really feel the weight of history here. To lighten it up, the cherry blossoms float mysteriously onto the ground and pile up into a carpet of blossoms. There's also a lot of park cats hanging around so you won't get too spooked out here! The main road is actually named Sakura Dori (Cherry Blossom Street) so you know the blossoms will be good here.
Enjoy! Let us know if you visit any of our top spots.