A visit of Japan during spring is an unforgettable experience. Nothing can beat the fabulous beauty of the cherry blossoms blooming everywhere around the country. The best moment to see these gorgeous flowers is usually between the last week of March and the first week of April, but it can vary quite a lot from one year to another or between the north and south of the archipelago. If you have the chance to be in Tokyo during this period, here are 5 of the best spots to admire the cherry blossoms blooming.
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There would be a lot to be written about the long history of the imperial family of Japan, the oldest dynasty in the world, but that’s not the point of this article so I’ll just mention that the current emperor (since 1989) is called Akihito and instead focus on his residence: the Imperial Palace of Tokyo.
Apart from some very rare occasions, it isn’t open to tourists, but it’s possible to walk along the moats and visit the gardens. There are many different access points to them: wherever you come from, appreciate how thick and strong the walls are on your way in. The gardens consist of a vast plain surrounded by trees including many sorts of cherry trees of different colours; it’s quite a big contrast between this empty space and the tall buildings nearby!
The stroll around the Imperial Palace is very popular with Tokyoites and tourists admiring the white cherry blossoms growing here. The large moats seem to be a barrier between two worlds: tradition on the inside, modernity on the outside.
If you want to see how much Japanese people are in love with their cherry trees, go to Tokyo Midtown during night time. On the side of this huge modern complex, take the street leading to a little park behind the commercial center. You’ll bump into a real crowd of people walking below gorgeous cherry blossoms illuminated with pink and purple lights above their heads. Even drivers pull over on the side of the road to take pictures!
I already mentioned this park in my previous article about Shinjuku; this green lung of the busiest district of Tokyo is one of the most beautiful areas in the city to admire the cherry blossoms, as well as many other kinds of trees. A place that you can’t miss if you’re visiting Japan during spring!
Ueno Park and Yanaka
Slightly bigger than Shinjuku Gyo-en, Ueno Park is its equivalent on the north-east of Tokyo. If you want to understand what the tradition of the hanami consists in, this is the place to be. Here, during the short period of the year when cherry blossoms are blooming, hundreds of people gather below the trees, sitting on large tarpaulins to enjoy food and drinks together.
While you’re in Ueno Park, don’t miss also the Toshogu Shrine, one of the most beautiful temples of the city with its bright golden doors.
Next to Ueno is Yanaka, an ancient district of Tokyo forgotten by tourists. I’ll write more about it in an upcoming article, but if you want to escape the crowds of Ueno Park, have a look at the Yanaka cemetery, a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the sight of the beautiful white trees.
I’m ending this list with my favourite place in Tokyo for the observation of the cherry blossoms. Meeting point is Nakameguro station, last stop of the Hibiya line. As soon as you’ll get out of the train, you’ll be carried by a giant wave of people heading to the Meguro river.
The view that awaits you when you’ll reach the river is simply breathtaking. On both sides of the water, hundreds of cherry blossom trees line up as far as you can see. At night, fairy lights hanging below the trees add even more beauty to this already gorgeous sight, one of the most stunning places of Tokyo in my opinion.
In my opinion… but not only in my opinion apparently. The banks of the river are literally teeming with people, enjoying food in one of the many little restaurants or drinking a glass of “strawberry sparkling” from the countless short-lived bars offering this drink. Definitely a perfect night out to enjoy the atmosphere of the Sakura season!
Do you know more good spots around Tokyo to admire the cherry blossoms? Share them in the comments!
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