Sakura is big in Japan. During the months of April and May, it seems like all of Japan is celebrating the advent of the cherry blossoms. Cafes will come out with “sakura” themed sweets, the local “konbenis” start selling pink drinks and the Japanese Starbucks even drops a cherry blossom line of merchandise every year. In Japan, sakura trees symbolize new life and the advent of warmer, sunnier days. And as beautiful as they are, it’s no wonder that families and friends spend the season going out to see them. The act of viewing sakura is known as “hanami”. There are a few prime areas to view the cherry blossoms, and most can be found with a quick Google search. For the past two years, I referenced Time Out Tokyo (a very convenient site for exploring Japan) to find the perfect places to enjoy the sakura trees. 

In 2022, I visited Meguro River in Tokyo. Meguro River is a small, romantic looking river right in the center of a busy and colorful neighborhood. Here, the sakura trees extend slightly over the river and the petals drift lightly down to the water – its a scene right out of your favorite slice of life anime. Meguro River is very beautiful, but the sidewalks can get quite crowded during this time. While it isn’t very difficult to get a picture with the cherry blossoms, I do recommend bracing for the crowds. The nice thing about this spot is that it’s very convenient to get to, and the trains are only a few minutes away. 

In 2023, I ventured a bit further out to Koishikawa Botanical Garden. Koishikawa  is very large, and besides sakura, it has many other beautiful exhibitions including a greenhouse and lake. Unlike Meguro, the garden/park was very open and had enough space to sit down and enjoy the sights. It is a bit more isolated, and the walk from the train station to the park took about 20 minutes. That being said it was absolutely stunning inside the park, and offered a chance to get up and close with the blossoms and take many Instagram worthy photos. 

Other popular cherry blossom viewing areas include Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen and Imperial Palace, all with their own unique charms and characteristics. 

PRICE: Free for both Koishikawa Garden and Meguro River


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