TOP PLACES IN TOKYO FOR CHERRY BLOSSOMS (SAKURA HANAMI)

ESPAÑOL

  • I was there: at the end of March 2013, 5 days.
  • Time needed: as much as you can.
  • My score: 5/5, I did not get tired, nor will I get tired of seeing it.

The Sakura Hanami, which literally means “look at the cherry blossoms”, is one of the favorite events, if not the most important, in this nation. Although it only lasts about 15 days, the beauty of it is such that for Japanese the effort to plant and care for cherry trees throughout the country is worthy, and so enjoy this show anywhere.

Sakura Hanami 1. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Cherry blossoms in Ueno park, Tokyo

The tradition of contemplating flowers dates back to the eighth century. Initially, plum was more popular, but between the ninth and twelfth centuries it yielded the first place. It was not until the Edo era that it acquired its definitive impulse; nobles became more fond of this tradition, which common people imitated, and the samurai adopted the cherry blossom as one of its symbols, considering that just as their petals fall before withering, a true samurai should fall in its splendor.

Picnic areas are enabled in almost all areas where these trees are concentrated and millions of people (more than 30 each year) go out with friends, family or colleagues to enjoy this magnificent event, dedicating hours a day. Often a member of the group has to get up early to keep a good spot for others.

Sakura Hanami 2. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Families on picnic under the trees

At night it continues by lighting multiple white / pink lanterns, and its called Yozakura.

Sakura Hanami 3. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Lanterns for Yozakura

There are more than 100 varieties of cherry trees in Japan, whose flowers vary from very white to very pink, with different sizes and shape of petals. The most frequent is the Somei-Yoshino variety.

WHEN TO GO

The flowering of the cherry trees changes every year, depending on the climatic conditions, and also varies according to the place, since although Japan is a country with little surface, it is very long, and the climate oscillates from the tropical islands in Okinawa till the almost polar cold continental weather in Hokkaido. It begins approximately at the beginning of March in Okinawa, March and April in most of the territory and end of April or beginning of May in the north. Every year, the national meteorology office announces the blossoming forecast (sakurazensen) for that season.

They told me about a backpacker who planned his trip by matching his itinerary with Sakura throughout the country; I do not only think that it was something extremely professional, but I can not imagine and at the same time I envy the aesthetic perfection of what his trip had to be.

Me, I only saw it in Tokyo, but I saw it very well, since my friend Pana considered that Akihabara, Odaiba or Shibuya were not going to change from one time of the year to another, but since Sakura had coincided with our stay in Tokyo, we should take advantage and see it in more places better.

UENO PARK

This is probably the most famous place in Tokyo and one of the most popular in the country to go to Hanami, although it is not my favorite, neither because of the distribution of the trees, nor because of how busy it is. It has approximately 1000 cherry blossoms of slightly pinkish white flowers. Most are next to wide asphalted walks, which in my opinion spoils some of the magic. There is also a part near Shinobazu Pond. It lights up at night until 8 pm.

Sakura Hanami 5. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan alwashere.com
In one of the avenues in Ueno park
Sakura Hanami 6. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Visitors in one of the main avenues of the park
Sakura Hanami 7. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
View of the branches packed in flowers
Sakura Hanami 8. Flores cerezo parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
On main spots food stalls are placed
Sakura Hanami 9. Puestos de comida parque Ueno Tokio Japon. Food stalls park Tokyo Japan
Octopus, clams and other aquatic animals skewers
Sakura Hanami 10. Flores cerezo parque Ueno lago ShinobazuTokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park pond Tokyo Japan
Cherry trees next to Shinobazu pond
Sakura Hanami 11. Flores cerezo parque Ueno lago Shinobazu Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park pond Tokyo Japan
Close-up of the flowers

SUMIDA PARK

This park in Asakusa is my favorite area. The cherry trees are grouped around minor temples and on both sides of the Sumida River. It is one of the longest and widest walks and you can get very good views of the Tokyo Sky Tree. Illuminated until 10 pm.

Sakura Hanami 20. Flores cerezo parque Sumida y Sky Tree Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Flowers and the Sky Tree
Sakura Hanami 21. Flores cerezo parque Sumida Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
One of the sideways of Sumida river
Sakura Hanami 22. Flores cerezo parque Sumida Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
The same sideway viewed from a bridge
Sakura Hanami 23. Flores cerezo parque Sumida Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Statue of a feudal noble next to cherry trees
Sakura Hanami 24. Flores cerezo parque Sumida Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Cherry trees in bloom in a minor temple in Asakusa
Sakura Hanami 25. Flores cerezo parque Sumida Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
Old men enjoying together the Hanabi
Sakura Hanami 26. Flores cerezo parque Sumida y Sky Tree Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
View of the Sky Tree behind a park
Sakura Hanami 27. Geisha Maiko Flores cerezo parque Sumida Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms park Tokyo Japan
My favourite picture of Japan, a women disguised as a Maiko under the blossoming cherry trees

SENSO-JI TEMPLE

The best temple in Tokyo, also in Asakusa, does not have many trees in its vicinity, but the set of them together with the magnificence of this excellent temple, form unforgettable images.

Sakura Hanami 30. Flores cerezo Senso-ji templo Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms temple Tokyo Japan
Main building of Senso-ji partially covered by cherry trees
Sakura Hanami 31. Flores cerezo Senso-ji templo Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms temple Tokyo Japan
Secondary building of Senso-ji close to a little garden

CHIDORIFUGACHI

The northwest bank of the Imperial Palace moat corresponding to Kitanomaru Park is one of the most beautiful spots to see Sakura in the city. Several hundred cherry trees line both sides of the moat, forming an idyllic walk on the west side and a wonderful canal with trees on both sides where you can rent boats. Picnics are not allowed. It lights up until 10 pm.

Sakura Hanami 32. Flores cerezo Chidorifugachi Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan
Walkway next to Chidorifugachi
Sakura Hanami 33. Flores cerezo Chidorifugachi Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan
Chidorifugachi. Sadly, that moment light rain was falling, that’s why there are no boats rowing in the canal. At least, the rain did not affected the reflection of the trees on the water

SHINJUKU GYOEN

Open from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Closes Mondays (but does not close during Sakura). Admission 200 ¥.

This public park in Shinjuku is a very good option to contemplate the flowers. Although there are fewer cherry trees (400 of the Somei-Yoshino variety), the fact of having to pay attracts very few visitors compared to Ueno park or Sumida river bank.

Sakura Hanami 41. Flores cerezo Shinjuku Gyoen Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan
Modern buildings in Shinjuku can be seen from the park
Sakura Hanami 42. Flores cerezo Shinjuku Gyoen Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan
Pond where trees are reflected
Sakura Hanami 43. Flores cerezo Shinjuku Gyoen Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan alwashere.com
Me under a big cherry tree with very white flowers
Sakura Hanami 44. Flores cerezo Shinjuku Gyoen Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan
Another of the avenues in Shinjuku Gyoen

OTHER PLACES

For us it was enough to see the Hanami in these places, but for those who want even more, or stay in areas far from these points, Yoyogi, Asukayama and Inokashira parks are also recommended, and in Koishikawa area there are two, the Botanical Garden and Korakuen. In any case, there are cherry trees scattered throughout many areas of the city, including the artificial Odaiba.

Sakura Hanami 45. Flores cerezo Odaiba Tokio Japon. Cherry blossoms Tokyo Japan
Cherry tree in bloom close to the Statue of Liberty in Odaiba
MORE EVENTS IN TOKYO:
<SUMO FIGHTING 

∇ Destinations∇ Japan / ∇ Kanto / ∇ Tokyo

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4 thoughts on “TOP PLACES IN TOKYO FOR CHERRY BLOSSOMS (SAKURA HANAMI)

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