Thinking of visiting Tokyo for this year’s sakura season? The cherry blossom season is fast approaching so now’s the time to plan your vacation to catch hanami in gorgeous parks, enjoy romantic boat rides after dark and be awed by spectacular illuminations surrounded by stunning blooming sakura. Let us show you when and where to enjoy Tokyo’s spectacular cherry blossoms this sakura season.
When is the best time to see sakura in Tokyo in 2020?
The best time to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo this year is from the middle to end of March. If you’re hunting for cherry blossoms in Japan this sakura season, be sure to check the cherry blossom forecasts that are updated frequently since flowering dates vary depending on the weather patterns. Also, plan and book your trip ahead of time to find the best deals!
|Tokyo Sakura Season 2020||Full bloom: 24 March|
First bloom: 16 March
|Tokyo Sakura Season 2019||Full bloom: 1 April|
First bloom: 20 March
|Tokyo Sakura Season 2018||Full bloom: 24 March|
First bloom: 17 March
|Tokyo Sakura Season 2017||Full bloom: 10 April|
First bloom: 23 March
|Tokyo Sakura Season 2016||Full bloom: 1 April|
First bloom: 20 March
Where are the best spots to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo for sakura season 2020?
1. Ueno Park
If you’re looking for a fun and vibrant place to see the sakura, head to Ueno Park, which is one of the city’s most popular spots to enjoy the cherry blossoms. The park features more than 1,000 trees which are beautifully lit up after dark. A mixture of somei-yosheino and mountain cherry trees bloom like stars during the sakura season. There are often special events and an antique market held in the park during this time of the year, so take a stroll along the lantern-lit paths and enjoy the festive atmosphere. It’s worth noting that cherry blossoms often appear here two to three days before other parts of the city.
|How to get to Ueno Park||Ueno Station|
|Where to stay||Find hotels near Ueno Park|
2. Sumida Park
Sumida Park is another popular spot for hanami, so join the crowds and head to the area between Azumabashi and Sakurabashi bridges. Wander along the paths and enjoy the 640 blooming cherry trees here alongside stunning views of the Tokyo Skytree. Trees along both sides of the river are illuminated after dark and for a romantic evening, enjoy a slow boat cruise down the river.
|How to get to Sumida park||Asakusa Station|
|Where to stay||Find hotels near Sumida Park|
3. Shinjuku Gyoen Garden
This beautiful garden was once the regal residence of a renowned samurai family but is now a gorgeous park with over a dozen varieties of blooming cherry trees and spacious, tranquil lawns perfect for lazing on your picnic mat and soaking up the atmosphere. Many of the trees here are late-blooming varieties, so if you miss the peak blooming period in Tokyo, head here to get your dose of sakura this year.
|How to get to Shinjuku Gyoen Garden||Shinjuku Station|
|Where to stay||Find hotels near Shinjuku Gyoen Garden|
|Admission fee||S$2.50 (JPY 200)|
This is undoubtedly one of Tokyo’s best cherry blossom viewing areas, with the spectacular sight of hundreds of blooming cherry trees lining the moat surrounding Edo Castle. While it is forbidden to have a picnic here, renting a boat and rowing along Hanzo Moat at night under the illuminated blossoms is a spectacular experience. If you get hungry, head over to the nearby Yasukuni Shrine which has lots of food stands.
|How to get to Chidorigafuchi||Kudanshita Station|
|Where to stay||Find hotels near Chidorigafuchi|
5. Mount Takao
Hop on a train from Shinjuku for a short ride out of town to enjoy the Japanese countryside and a hike up Mount Takao. The mountain, at only 599m in altitude, isn’t a particularly challenging climb but rewards with ancient temples, pristine fresh air and a number of hanami spots beneath the cherry blossom trees. For the best spot to see sakura, hike a further 30 minutes from the summit until you reach the Takaosan Senbonzakura area and enjoy the different varieties of trees in bloom. It’s also worth noting that several of the varieties here bloom around two weeks later than in central Tokyo.
|How to get to Mount Takao||Take a Keio Railways train (50 mins) for S$5 (JPY 390) from Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station and then hike the mountain!|
|Where to stay||Find accommodation near Mount Takao|
6. Yoyogi Park
With over 600 cherry trees, the spacious Yoyogi Park is a fun place for hanami. The park is renowned for its markets and on Sundays, it is a mecca for the city’s cosplayers, which makes it a perfect spot for people-watching in Tokyo. Also, one of the varieties of cherry blossom tree in the park, which has darker pink blossoms than the more commonly-seen somei yoshino blossom, usually blooms several days earlier than the forecast date so if you’re in Tokyo earlier than its official flowering dates, head here and you might strike gold!
|How to get to Yoyogi Park||Harajuku Station|
|Where to stay||Find hotels near Yoyogi Park|
7. Asukayama Park
Asukayama Park is one of Tokyo’s most revered and famous places for viewing the blooming cherry trees. The park is perched on a hilltop and is much quieter and smaller than more popular spots such as Ueno and Sumida, so it’s great for a breather from the crowds. It also features a cool playground which includes a disused train and tram – perfect for kids to explore. Little rail enthusiasts will also love the free monorail that takes people up the hill to the park!
|How to get to Asukayama Park||Oji Station|
|Where to stay||Find hotels near Asukayama Park|
Where to stay in Tokyo during the sakura season?
It’s important to note that the sakura season is also the peak season in Tokyo. Prices skyrocket, so it pays to do your homework and book as early in advance as possible. Also, try and snag a place near the JR Yamanote Line so you can save time, money and energy getting to the key areas. This line is well connected to prime cherry blossom viewing spots such as Ueno and Shinjuku and other tourist districts including Shibuya and Akihabara.
Top tip: The best three areas to start narrowing down your search for a perfect base for sakura viewing are Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ueno. Happy hunting!
First published in February 2017 and last updated in February 2020. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.