Grab your camera and prepare for your anime moment under the falling petals. We’ve put together a list of some of the best Tokyo sakura (cherry blossom) viewing spots to get you in the mood for spring. 

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Tokyo cherry blossom
The weeping cherry tree of Rikugien | Photo by

While some people prefer busy places with a lively atmosphere, others prefer a quiet, relaxing chance to stroll under the cherry blossoms in Tokyo — so we have both covered. We’ve divided this list into the most popular parks and gardens and quieter sakura spots, which will still have people but not quite as many. There are even a few super-chilled places at the end and some slightly outside of Tokyo. Keep in mind, though, that “secret” and “sakura” are basically an oxymoron — Tokyo knows and loves its trees, so if it’s pretty, people will pitch up.

When do cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo?

For 2022, Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC)’s most recent forecast for Tokyo puts first bloom at the 23th of March, with the best sakura viewing times right around the 30th of March.

Keep in mind there are some sakura varieties that bloom earlier or later than the common varieties that the forecasts are focused on. So if you won’t be here at peak time, don’t worry: we’ve included some cool options for you below.

Here are some handy sakura names to look out for when checking specific locations for cherry blossoms in Japan:

  • Early-blooming: Kanzakura, Kawazuzakura, Kanhizakura
  • Late-blooming: Ichiyo, Ukon, Kanzan, Shogetsu, Jugatsuzakura, Kikuzakura, Fugenzo

Regarding late-blooming sakura, you might see the term yaezakura, which refers to cherry blossom varieties with dense petals. These happen to bloom later than the “standard” Tokyo sakura that have five petals per flower.

Ways to admire the cherry blossoms in Tokyo

While it’s easy enough to stroll into a park, admire a cherry tree and then go on your merry way, there are plenty of ways to get into the spirit of spring. Here are some of the typical things you can do:

  • Hanami: This literally means “flower viewing” and is our favorite Japanese tradition (it’s a very cheapo-friendly one, too). You haven’t experienced Japan until you’ve had a picnic party under the sakura. These involve a blue tarp, snacks, and lots of drinks and are done best in parks. Note that most gardens ban hanami, so check first. See our guide to hanami in Tokyo.
  • Sakura festivals: These provide food stalls, pretty lanterns, and even entertainment (sometimes). Held around peak blossom season, a sakura matsuri is perfect if you want a slice of the summer festival action a little earlier in the year. Note: Most sakura festivals are canceled for 2022 due to anti-COVID measures.
  • Yozakura: This refers to cherry blossoms that are illuminated at night, and offers a different take on the Tokyo cherry blossom-viewing experience. Again, major illumination events will be mostly canceled for 2022.
  • Hikes: Your best chance of seeing some quiet cherry blossoms in their natural habitat is to head out into the mountains for a spring walk. Pack a picnic and you’ve got yourself the perfect day out.

While they’ll be busy, these places are popular for a reason. Whether they have the best trees, the nicest rivers or the most picturesque boating lakes and cherry blossom tunnels, people will flock to them — and there’s no shame in joining.

Note: Some popular parks and gardens that usually make the list — like Koishikawa Korakuen — have been left off for 2022 because they are temporarily closed.

1. Ueno Park

Ueno Park has not yet confirmed whether the annual matsuri — in any form — will go ahead or not.

One of the most popular (and crowded) hanami spots in Tokyo, Ueno Park is where the sakura famously bloom a bit earlier. An estimated 800 cherry trees line the central path, and people typically picnic on both sides, using blankets or tarps to claim whatever space they can.

Access: Close to Ueno Station — just follow the crowds!
Cost: Free

2. Shinjuku Gyoen

If you’re keen on somewhere a little more peaceful, this is it. There are around 1,300 cherry trees, which bloom at different stages. Shinjuku Gyoen Park is spacious with nice big lawns and plenty of walking paths, so even when it’s crowded, you can still enjoy a chilled stroll under the sakura flowers. There’s an English garden, French garden, and Japanese garden — head to the English one for the best picnic spots. The atmosphere here is much less rowdy compared to most other parks. See what else there is to do in Shinjuku.

Access: Shinjukugyoenmae Station (or Sendagaya Station) is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Cost: ¥500

3. Imperial Palace East Gardens

So far the only COVID-19 restrictions currently in place are a mask requirement and a caution against large gatherings. The garden already has a system in place to monitor entry numbers (pick up a token when you enter and return it when you leave), and may restrict entry to keep crowds to a minimum.

The Imperial Palace’s East Gardens are open to public viewing for free. Some people have picnics there, but it doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being a sakura picnic spot. Instead, the gardens’ size makes them suitable for a nice stroll. The sakura are a welcome touch of old Tokyo standing in contrast to all the concrete in nearby modern Marunouchi, Tokyo’s business district. Read our Imperial Palace guide.

Access: The palace being huge, there are several nearby stations: 5 minutes from Exit C13A of Otemachi Station | Exit 1A of Takebashi Station | 10 minutes from Exit 6 of Nijubashimae Station | the Marunouchi North Exit of Tokyo Station.
Cost: Free

4. Chidorigafuchi and Kitanomaru Park

This year’s illuminations have been cancelled; boat rentals will be limited to day time (10am to 5pm) only.

Chidorigafuchi is one of Tokyo’s most scenic sakura spots — and also a place where you can hop in a boat and row your date (or lazy friends) around an Edo-era moat, part of the Imperial Palace grounds. If you’re wobbly on the water, you can mosey along the 700m-long footpath instead, ooh-ing and ah-ing your way through the tunnel of cherry blossoms.

The park next door is called Kitanomaru Park, and like the Imperial Palace’s East Gardens, is a place for quiet sakura viewing. The controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which also has loads of cherry blossoms, is nearby; despite its politically loaded status, it draws a lot of tourists during cherry blossom season.

Access: Kudanshita Station
Cost: Free

5. Sumida Park

Sumida Park has not yet confirmed whether the annual matsuri — in any form — will go ahead or not.

The area stretching from Azumabashi Bridge to Sakurabashi Bridge on the Sumida River is a super-famous cherry blossom viewing spot, and has been for centuries. More than 1,000 cherry trees line the river, making for great photo ops and picnics. You can also see Tokyo Skytree from here.

Access: Asakusa Station
Cost: Free

6. Inokashira Park

This park in Kichijoji, a suburban Tokyo neighborhood, is renowned for its beauty in spring. Approximately 500 cherry trees surround a central pond, and when the blossoms start falling, the sakura petals spread out over the pond to carpet it in pink.

Access: Kichijoji Station
Cost: Free

7. Meguro River

The famous nightly illumination display is canceled for 2022.

Four kilometers of the Meguro River are home to more than 800 cherry trees, which make for a unique sight (in Tokyo, at least — go to Kyoto if you want to see countless canals surrounded by cherry blossoms). Here’s a drive-by video if you’re keen on a preview.

Access: Ikejiri-Ohashi, Meguro, or Naka-Meguro stations
Cost: Free

8. Yoyogi Park

The very urban Yoyogi Park is known more for general gatherings and bazaars than its flora. That said, it has about 600 cherry trees, including an early blooming variety that’s a darker shade of pink than the Somei Yoshino, which is the most common kind of cherry blossom you see in Japan. In normal times the park draws huge crowds for hanami but, as with other public parks in Tokyo this year, is making a plea for people not to gather en masse. Read our guide to Yoyogi Park.

Access: The park is easily accessed from Harajuku/Meijijingumae Station.
Cost: Free

11 off-the-beaten-path places to see Tokyo sakura

These locations are not as well known, at least for international tourists, so if you want a less-crowded cherry blossom experience, consider adding a couple to your itinerary.

1. Showa Kinen Park

If you’re keen on getting out of Tokyo central, or miss the main sakura season by a few days, you can always check out Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa, about 40 minutes by train from Shinjuku. It’s huge, and has 1,500 cherry blossom trees — you might see some daffodils, tulips, and lavender, too.

A great way to explore the park is by renting a bicycle when you arrive. This costs adult/child ¥530/¥320 for a full day or adult/child ¥420/¥260 for a half-day. Read our guide to Showa Kinen Park.

Access: Tachikawa Station.
Cost: ¥450

2. Asukayama Park

asukayama park cherry blossoms
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This hidden park’s hanami history goes back a long way — it’s been a favorite local spot since the Edo period. It has 600 trees and a monorail that goes from the entrance to the hilltop.

Access: The park is right next to Oji Station and Asukayama on the tram line as well.
Cost: Free

3. Yanaka Cemetery

Cherry blossoms yanaka cemetery
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Flower viewing in a cemetery? That’s possible in Yanaka Cemetery near Ueno. The place has been relatively popular among locals for quite some time now, as its main path is lined with cherry trees, leading it to be called Cherry Blossom Avenue.

If you’ve grown used to the image of cemeteries as places of gloom and solemnity, you’ll be surprised to see (some) people having picnics here. If you think about the symbolism behind the cherry blossom, it doesn’t seem too unusual — the short-lived sakura is a reminder of the transience of life, after all. Just be as respectful as possible if you decide to drop by this place. See what else there is to do in Yanaka.

Access: Nippori Station
Cost: Free

4. Kasai Rinkai Park

kasai rinkai ferris wheel
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Tokyo’s largest central park, Kasai Rinkai is just a station away from Tokyo Disneyland. Its vast space and other attractions (a Ferris wheel, observatory, and bird sanctuary) make it an ideal location for family outings. Read more about Kasai Rinkai Park.

Access: A short stroll from Kasai-Rinkai-Koen Station
Cost: Free

5. Mt. Takao 

You might want to consider a day trip to the closest mountain to Tokyo, which is less than an hour away from Shinjuku. Mt. Takao provides great views of the Kanto region and Mt. Fuji, and in spring, those views can get even more picturesque with cherry blossoms framing the sights. See our sakura hikes article for more ideas.

Access: Takaosanguchi Station
Cost: Free

6. Sotobori Park

Between Iidabashi and Yotsuya stations, this thin stretch of park runs along the Kanda riverside and becomes a cherry blossom-filled haven in spring. At just over 2km, it makes a perfect hour-long walk. The park features Edo Castle ruins, as well as around 700 Somei Yoshino cherry trees. It gets busy, but you might find the northside riverside path a little quieter.

Access: The park is a few minutes’ walk from Iidabashi or Yotsuya Station, with Ichigaya located right in the middle. Iidabashi is 12 minutes from Shinjuku Station on the JR Chuo/Sobu Line.
Cost: Free

7. Ojima Komatsugawa Park

Mainly known for its recreation fields and castle-like structures, Ojima Komatsugawa Park straddles the Kyunaka River. As you may have learned, a river is a good sign for cherry blossoms in Japan. Once a marshland, the park was redeveloped and is now home to around 1,000 cherry trees, nicknamed the Senbonzakura and planted as a sign of regeneration.

Access: The park is 5 minutes from Higashi-Ojima Station, which is 30 minutes from Shinjuku on the Toei Subway Shinjuku Line.
Cost: Free

8. Hibiya Park

Near the Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park is 16 hectares of beauty — and as it’s not a major hanami spot, it’s great for the less gregarious cheapo. The park precincts include the Shinkei and Kumogata ponds, a playground, and a number of Yoshino cherry trees.

Access: The park is easily reached from Hibiya Station, Kasumigaseki Station, and Yurakucho Station.
Cost: Free

9. Komazawa Olympic Park 

Used as the second main venue of the 1964 Olympics before being opened as a public park, this is a great open space filled with Somei Yoshino cherry trees. There are around 200 mature trees in the park and many line the cycle route, meaning you can combine your blossom viewing with a relaxing cycle or run through tunnels of pink. Note: Last year the park banned picnics; this year the only ban posted so far is on blossom photography on weekends from March 19th through April 17th.

Access: 10 minutes from Komazawa-Daigaku Station, which is 7 minutes from Shibuya on the Tokyu Den-en-Toshi Line.
Cost: Free

10. Kinuta Park

Sakura hanami Kinuta Park
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Way out in Setagaya, Kinuta Park has over 900 sakura trees including Somei, Yoshino, Yamazakura, and Yaezakura varietals.

Access: Yoga Station on the Den-en Toshi Line
Cost: Free

11. Koganei Park

This 200-acre park is the second largest in Tokyo, and during hanami season, you can tell: the spacious lawns are a favorite spot for blossom-viewing picnics. There are upwards of 1,700 cherry trees, with over 50 varieties, including Yoshino, Sato, and wild cherry trees. If you get tired of looking at sakura or need a break from the crowds, the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architecture Museum is nearby.

Access: The park is about a half hour’s walk from Musashi-Koganei Station or Higashi-Koganei Station, but it is not, please note, anywhere near Koganei Station.
Cost: Free

Cherry blossom day trips near Tokyo

If you’re happy to head a little farther afield, these two day trips make for awesome spring adventures.

1. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kanagawa

Kamakura, Tsuruoka Hachiman
Photo by

Not only is this the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura, it is one of the most beautiful in spring as it has a 500m approach lined with blossoms. This final stretch is known as Danzakura and is home to lots of younger trees. Although some newly planted trees are not quite up to full blossom yet, it is still pretty and you can stroll through the grounds to find more trees near the garden ponds. These are older and include very early- and late-blooming sakura varieties, so it’s good if you’re not visiting at peak season.

Kamakura cherry blossoms
Photo by

The shrine is one of the top sights in Kamakura at any time of year, so you can enjoy it with an added bonus of blossoms. There are not many food stalls here and it’s more of a quiet appreciation type place, so bring a snack if you’re planning on spending time under the cherry trees. See what else there is to do in Kamakura.

Access: The shrine is 10-15 minutes from Kamakura Station along Danzakura Street. It takes about 40 minutes to reach Kamakura from Shinagawa Station, with a change at Totsuka or Ofuna.
Cost: Free

2. Omiya Park, Saitama  |  大宮公園  |  Free

cherry blossom tokyo saitama omiya park sakura
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One of the top 100 spots for cherry blossoms in the whole of Japan, this park is far enough out of Tokyo that it misses some of the crowds. There are over 1,000 Yoshino cherry trees lining paths through the park. There is also a boating lake which allows for some picturesque sakura-viewing opportunities, although you might have to queue for a spot.

Omiya Park doesn’t close, so you don’t have to worry about being booted out just as you’re getting settled. Read more about Omiya.

Access: The park is a few minutes’ walk from Kita-Omiya Station, which is about 35 minutes from Shinjuku with a change at Omiya.
Cost: Free

Bonus: Two little-known mini sakura spots in Tokyo

Not even official parks, these are tiny cherry blossom corners that are perfect if you find yourself in the area and wouldn’t mind adding some Tokyo sakura to your day. They aren’t exactly worth traveling for, but will definitely be quiet!

Kitazawagawa Ryokudo Green Road

A small culverted river that’s a tributary to the more famous Meguro River, this is a quiet and pleasant spot with some cherry blossoms lining the hidden waterway. Popular with local children and dog walkers, it might not be worth a trip on its own, but if you’re in the area, it is certainly worth a stroll and makes a great lunch spot.

Roppongi Sakurazaka

Roppongi Sakurazaka
Sakurazaka | Photo by Gregory Lane

Running parallel to the busy Keyakizaka, Sakurazaka is a walking path with around 75 cherry trees to stroll beneath. Thanks to its more residential surroundings, it’s nothing like the busy cosmopolitan streets you might associate with Roppongi. The trees are illuminated in the evenings, so if you’re out in Roppongi for the night, a nice stroll might be the perfect end to your day. See what else there is to do in Roppongi.

Tokyo sakura video guide

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post was originally published in March 2015. Last updated in March 2022. Special thanks to Lily Crossley-Baxter and Kylie van Zyl for their help.

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