The Meguro River, which stretches for several kilometers, is one of Tokyo’s most popular hanami spots. Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy the cherry blossoms along the canal (river is a technical term).

Sakura trees on either side form a tunnel of pink over the canal. Every year, huge crowds gather, especially after dark, when the cherry blossoms are lit by lanterns.

Pro tip: Enjoy the pink petals without the crowds by booking a cherry blossom cruise on the Meguro River.

Suggested Activity
1-for-1 Deals for Japan on KKday's 10th Birthday Bash!
Enjoy 50% off Japan tours and 1-for-1 e-SIMs, tickets and experiences!
Also, 1-for-1 USJ tickets, every Tues, 12pm (For SG/MY/TH only). T&Cs apply.

Where are the Meguro River cherry blossoms?

Cherry trees with big puffs of blossoms hang over the Meguro River in Tokyo
View looking back towards Nakameguro, from further down the Meguro River. | Photo by Getty Images

When most people think of the Meguro River, they think of Nakameguro. And to be sure, that part of the river is always the most crowded. But the whole sakura-lined stretch is actually about 5km long, stretching from Gotanda to Meguro Sky Garden, almost as far as Ikejiri-Ōhashi Station. You can typically walk it in an hour (crowds notwithstanding).

If you just want the highlights, start at Meguro Station and walk to Nakameguro.

When is the Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival?

The Meguro River stretches a long way, and that means there are several festivals held during its cherry blossom season — at different locations. If you’re looking for the illuminated blossoms at night, then the main 2024 Meguro River Light-up is from March 19 to 31, and runs from near Ikejiri-Ōhashi Station to just before Meguro Station. The food trucks start appearing a day later on March 20 at Meguro River Park.

This lines up pretty well with the Tokyo cherry blossom forecast, which predicts the sakura to start blooming on March 23 and to peak on March 30. (Note that peak time also means the most crowded time).

We recommend visiting on a weekday if you can, as it should be less crowded, but the path between Chitosebashi Bridge and Hinodebashi Bridge will still be one way.

Not in town then? Check out these late-blooming cherry blossom spots in Tokyo instead.

Daytime cherry blossom strolls and festivals along the Meguro River

Nearly white cherry blossoms, dark boughs, and bright pink lanterns along the Meguro River in Tokyo
Even a gloomy day can be photogenic along the Meguro River. | Photo by Getty Images

During the day, the pale pink flowers and (ideally) bright blue skies make for an almost dazzling contrast. But by midday, the crowds might be thick enough to slow your roll. So if you’re looking for a little serenity, arriving super early means you’ll only have to contend with a few riverside joggers.

For some daytime excitement and performances, consider joining these festivals:

  • March 23 and 24 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.): The official Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival at Confluence Playground near Naka-Meguro Station.
  • March 30 and 31 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.): The official Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival at Dendō Square Park near Meguro Station.

Tip: Weather permitting, the blossoms will continue past the official end date of the festival and illuminations, so for fewer crowds, go in the day after March 31.

Suggested Activity
Stream Japanese Anime and Shows, Wherever You Are
With NordVPN, you can access popular streaming platforms from anywhere in the world. As an added bonus, you’ll get better online privacy and security.

Night-time Meguro River cherry blossom lanterns and lights

For a totally different experience, visit the river after dark. Aside from the crowds (and there will be crowds), there are thousands of bright pink lanterns strung from the trees; when illuminated at night, they reflect on the surface of the water below. The blossoms on the drooping branches catch the light in a way that’s genuinely hard to comprehend — it almost looks too good to be real.

The illumination takes place from March 19 to March 31 (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and the lights will stretch from near Ikejiri-Ōhashi Station to just before Meguro Station.

Pink cherry blossoms illuminated by lanterns at dusk over the Meguro River in Tokyo
See what we mean about the light? Anyway, twilight is nice, too. | Photo by Getty Images

What is there to eat and drink at the festival?

It is unclear in 2024 how many stalls will be on the streets of Nakameguro — in past years hundreds have congregated along the river, starting closer to Meguro Station, intensifying near Nakameguro and finishing around Ikejiri-Ohashi Station (near Meguro Sky Garden), and it was quite a boozy affair (think pink champagne). Stalls were banned in 2023, however, and the city has discouraged drinking and eating on the streets this year.

Luckily, there will be plenty of food trucks at Meguro River Park, so head there if you get peckish. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal or some drink to break up your walk, Nakameguro is renowned for its hip bars and foodie hangouts. Word of caution though, you’ll want to book ahead!

How to get to the Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival

Three main stations connect you with the cherry blossoms along Meguro River: Ikejiri-Ōhashi Station, Nakameguro Station, and Meguro Station. The closest and busiest will be Nakameguro Station, which can be accessed by the Tōkyū-Tōyoko and Hibiya lines (3 minutes from Shibuya Station).

The next is Meguro Station, which is on the Yamanote Line, Meguro Line, Namboku Line, and Mita Line (5 minutes from Shibuya). Ikejiri-Ōhashi is the smallest and is only on the Den-en-toshi Line (2 minutes from Shibuya).

You can get off at Meguro Station and walk up to the Nakameguro area and towards Ikejiri-Ōhashi Station. Or do the opposite, and walk from Ikejiri-Ōhashi to Meguro.

Meguro River boat cruises

Avoid the crowds by jumping on a boat. | Photo by Getty Images

For a different angle on the river’s many cherry blossoms, you can take a small boat cruise. You can catch a nighttime or daytime boat trip for under ¥5,000 per person.

Want to get out of the city and really stretch your legs? Check out these hanami hikes near Tokyo.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in March, 2019. Last updated in March, 2024, by Alex Ziminski.

Ask our local experts about Tokyo

Get our Tokyo Cheapo Hacks direct to your inbox

Watch this next

Recommended hotels located nearby