Cherry blossoms look great against a blue sky. But don’t let nightfall stop you: Tokyo (and Japan) have a long tradition of appreciating the blossoms at night. There is even a word for it — yozakura. Several of Tokyo’s best cherry blossom spots moonlight as yozakura spots, with the help of evening illuminations.
Though, come to think of it, does it ever really get dark in Tokyo? Anyway, the lanterns or lights may be simple — just enough for the flowers to be seen in the dark — or extravagant enough for the blossoms to give off an ethereal glow.
Some locations have enough space for nighttime picnics (so long as you behave yourself). Some may also have food stalls for a festival-like atmosphere. Whichever way, bring your camera and discover the best of Tokyo’s nighttime cherry blossom illuminations.
The Meguro River illuminations are back for the first time in years. Over 800 cherry trees grow on a stretch of the Meguro River, spanning almost 4 km and transforming an otherwise ordinary river into a beautiful sight.
Paper lanterns are strung along a 1 km-long section in Nakameguro, between Nambu Bridge and Saikachi Bridge, as part of the Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival. This narrow part of the canal make for a lovely, even romantic, stroll.
Pro-tip: For a different experience, try joining a daytime cruise down Meguro River.
Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival
Chidorigafuchi Park, which sits on the opposite side of the moat from the Imperial Palace, has about 260 cherry trees that line the water. They’re illuminated in the evening during the Chiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival, which extends to nearby Kitanomaru Park and Yasukuni Shrine.
During the festival, you’ll be able to take a rowboat out onto the moat until 8:30 p.m., in order to get those yozakura photo shots. And don’t forget to check out the food stalls set up around the vicinity.
Chiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival
Rikugien is best known for its shidare-zakura, or weeping cherry tree. Described as magical and mystical, the evening illumination makes the massive cherry tree look like its floating in the dark.
A special ticket is available from ¥900 to view the garden at night during cherry blossom season. Of course, the park is also open in the daytime — as early as 9:00 a.m. — and regular park admission is ¥300.
Rikugien Gardens: A Mystical Weeping Cherry
|Advance sales: ¥900||At the door: ¥1,100|
Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown
Both Roppongi Hills’ Mohri Garden and nearby Sakura-zaka (literally “Cherry Slope”) have cherry trees that come aglow in spring. Mohri Garden has Somei Yoshino and weeping cherry trees while Sakura-zaka has all Somei Yoshino.
Swanky Tokyo Midtown, meanwhile, also has illuminations in the evening. Find them in the complex’s Hinokichō Park and elsewhere as part of the Midtown Blossom event.
Midtown Blossom 2024
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 out a spot (there are some regulations this year), you might have slightly more luck at night. Emphasis on slightly.
Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival
Spain-zaka and Ark Hills
The mature cherry trees lining the roads around Roppongi’s 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.
Spain-zaka runs up the hill next to Ark Hills from Roppongi-dōri towards the Embassy of Spain. To get there, take the Ark Hills exit from Roppongi-itchōme Station and follow the modest crowds. While the area’s sakura festival only lasts for a few days, the cherry blossom light-up will last for the entirety of the blooming period.
Ark Hills Cherry Blossom Festival
Visit historic 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. There are over 600 trees in the park alone!
The Sumida River is another popular cherry blossom cruising spot (and has been for centuries). This nighttime riverboat cruise still has some availability last time we checked.
Bokutei Cherry Blossom Festival
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
For sakura season this year, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is collaborating with art collective Naked to provide you with a never-before-seen experience. You’ll be given your own lantern to take with you around the park at night as you explore both real and digital cherry blossoms. Visitors can also purchase vegan food and sit on the lawn.
Cherry Blossom Night Garden at Shinjuku Gyoen
This quiet neighborhood in Kōtō Ward has a low-key vibe, but it’s a great place to check out during cherry blossom season, as it hosts the Oedo-Fukagawa Sakura Festival. There will be food stalls on the weekend and illuminations of the blossoms in the evening from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. But what sets it apart is that you can take a cruise on a wasen, or traditional Japanese boat, to admire the cherry blossoms (pre-registration required).
Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival
For other ways to enjoy cherry blossom season in Tokyo, see our alternative Hanami guide.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post was last updated March 2023.
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