Cherry blossom looks great against a blue sky, but why let nightfall put a stop to your floral-appreciation? Here are some of the best places to see sakura after dark in Tokyo.
Japan can’t get enough of its iconic sakura (cherry blossoms)—they don’t just view them during the daytime, but also at night! They even have a term for cherry blossoms at night: yozakura. The lanterns or lights may be simple, just enough for the flowers to be seen in the dark, or fancy enough for the blossoms to give off an ethereal glow. Some places even have enough space for picnics, and may have food stalls for a festival-like atmosphere. So why don’t you bring your camera and head to these places—listed in no particular order—in Tokyo from late March to mid-April?
1. Meguro and Nakameguro
Over 800 cherry trees grow on a stretch of the Meguro River, spanning almost 4 km out of its 7.82 km length and transforming an otherwise ordinary river into a beautiful sight. From the neighborhood of Ohashi near Ikejiri-Ohashi Station going downstream to Taikobashi near Meguro Station, paper lanterns light up the area. The most famous area, though, is the riverbanks near Nakameguro, where the cherry trees are lit up from approximately April 1-10 each year. The narrow parts of the canal make for a lovely, even romantic, stroll down the area. For a different experience, try joining a nighttime cruise down the Meguro River.
Dates: March 23rd – April 10th (5pm – 9pm)
Access: Ikejiri-Ohashi, Meguro, or Nakameguro Station
2. Chidorigafuchi Park
The sakura-associated events at the park and nearby Yasukuni Shrine, which are quite close to each other, make up the Chiyoda Sakura Festival. Chidorigafuchi has about 260 cherry trees and a boating area. This is one of the most popular yozakura spots, so be warned that it can get quite crowded. Meanwhile, Yasukuni Shrine, although controversial from a political perspective, is also known for beautiful cherry blossoms. Check out the food stalls set up around the vicinity as well!
Dates: March 27th – April 7th (6pm – 10pm)
Access: Kudanshita Station
Rikugien is best known for its shidare-zakura, or weeping cherry trees. Described as magical and mystical, the evening illumination makes the cherry trees look like they’re floating in the dark. Of course, the park is also open in the daytime—as early as 9:00 am—so visit before sunset if you want to admire the cherry trees during both daytime and nighttime. Park admission is ¥300 yen.
Dates: March 21st – April 3rd (9am – 9pm)
Access: Komagome Station
4. Asakusa: Sumida Park
Visit historical Asakusa to see this park by the river, where you can have a picnic underneath illuminated cherry blossoms and see Tokyo Skytree. The Sumida River has been a famous cherry-blossom festival spot for centuries, with over 600 trees in the park alone. You can take a ride on traditional yakatabune boats before the evening illuminations begin.
Dates: March 21st – April 7th (5pm – 10pm)
Access: Asakusa Station
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Toshimaen, an old-school amusement park, has over 500 cherry trees, which get lit up after the sun goes down. Regular entrance is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children, but during their Sakura Nights, entrance past 3:00 pm is only ¥500, and the grounds are open until 8:30 pm. That’s just for entrance, though—if you want to ride the attractions, there are special ride-all-you-can Sakura Night passes costing ¥1,600 for adults and ¥1,300 for children, inclusive of admission. For kids and their guardians, there’s also a kids’ Sakura Night pass for ¥1,100 (for kids, and companions aged 20 and above)—the difference is that the ride-all-you-can privilege is limited to the kiddie attractions (those without height requirements).
Dates: March 21st – April 7th
Access: Toshimaen Station
6. Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown
Next to Roppongi Hills is a slope filled with cherry trees, aptly called Sakurazaka (zaka meaning “slope”), which comes aglow in spring. Typically, instead of giving specific dates for the light-up, Roppongi Hills follows the cherry blossom forecast, which means that as soon as the cherry blossoms start blooming, the illuminations should also begin. Also within the vicinity is the swanky lifestyle complex Tokyo Midtown, which has an event called Midtown Blossom. Aside from the light-up, outside the Ritz-Carlton is the Martini Blossom Lounge, where you can drink wine and eat sakura-themed food in style while admiring the flowers.
Tokyo Midtown Dates: March 15th – April 14th (5pm – 11pm)
Access: Roppongi Station
7. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is already famous enough for cherry blossoms during the day! While its light-up is nothing too spectacular, its space and reputation as a picnic spot make it an optimal place for a nighttime picnic. If it’s too hard to stake a picnic spot during the day, you might have slightly more luck at night. Emphasis on slightly. The spring festival dates are dependent on the blossoms so won’t be confirmed until pretty close to the time—so keep an eye out.
Dates: Late March – Early April
Access: Ueno Station
8. Spain-zaka / Roppongi
Running up the hill next to Ark Hills from Roppongi Dori towards the Embassy of Spain, the mature cherry trees lining the roads around Spain-zaka are amongst the most spectacular and least known in Tokyo. While there aren’t really any places to put down a mat for a picnic, the area is great for an evening stroll. To get to Spain-zaka, take the Ark Hills exit from Roppongi-itchome Station and follow the modest crowds.
Dates: Late March – Early April
Access: Roppongi-itchome Station
9. Fukagawa / Monzen-Nakacho
This quiet neighborhood in Koto Ward has a downtown, low-key vibe, but it’s a great place to check out during cherry blossom season because of the Oedo-Fukagawa Sakura Festival. Aside from its illuminations and food stalls, what sets it apart is that you can take a cruise on a wasen, or traditional Japanese boat, just to admire the cherry blossoms.
Dates: Late March – Early April
Access: Monzen-Nakacho Station
10. Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
This is a special mention because it’s not exactly cheap. This luxury hotel has a beautiful garden that offers a spectacular view no matter what the season. Of course, it has cherry trees as well, which are lit up in spring. Their light-up starts quite early compared to other events because their garden has kawazu sakura, which are early-blooming variants.
Since this is private property, if you want to see Hotel Chinzanso’s illumination, you’ll have to be a paying customer, which means booking a room and/or ordering something from their restaurants, lounge, or bar. One advantage of viewing illuminations here is that it likely won’t be crowded.
Dates: February 28th – April 12th
Access: Edogawabashi Station
Bonus tip: In 2016, we took Toneri Park off this list. This park in Adachi Ward may not be as well known, but in previous years its Senbonzakura (thousand cherry trees) Festival would end with fireworks (a rarity, since summer is the season for fireworks in Japan) and illuminations, but they’ve stopped doing that since. This year’s Senbonzakura Festival is still a go, though, so if you want a less touristy viewing spot, head over to this park right next to Toneri-Koen Station.
For other ways to enjoy cherry blossom season in Tokyo, see our How to Hanami guide.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post was last updated on March 11th, 2019.
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|Location(s):||Asakusa, Chiyoda, Fukagawa, Komagome, Nakameguro, Nerima, Roppongi, Ueno,|
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