Significance of Cherry Blossom (Sakura) in Japanese Culture
Cherry blossoms, or "sakura" in Japanese, hold a very significant and deeply ingrained place in Japanese culture. They are considered a symbol of the fleeting nature of life, as they bloom spectacularly for a brief period each year, usually in late March or early April. The blossoms are associated with the arrival of spring, renewal, and the beauty of nature. The image of cherry blossoms in full bloom is often used to represent Japan and Japanese culture. The tradition of "hanami," or cherry blossom viewing, is an important annual event in Japan. People gather with friends and families to picnic under the cherry trees and admire the beauty of the blossoms.
The custom of hanami dates back to ancient Japan when the aristocracy would gather to enjoy the cherry blossoms in bloom. The cherry blossom also holds a significant meaning for military and war in Japan, representing the sacrifice of young soldiers in the nation's past wars, as well as a reminder of the transience of life. Overall, cherry blossoms are deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and hold a lot of significance in the society.
Experience Cherry Blossom Viewing in Tokyo
The sight of endless delicate white and pink cherry blossoms is one that you will never forget. Viewing cherry blossoms, or "sakura" in Tokyo is a popular and cherished annual tradition. The best time to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo is typically in late March or early April when the trees in many parts of the city are in full bloom.
- One of the most popular places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo is Ueno Park, which is home to over 1,000 cherry trees. The park attracts large crowds of people who come to enjoy the blossoms and have picnics under the trees.
- Other popular spots to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo include Chidorigafuchi, a moat near the Imperial Palace, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which features a wide variety of cherry trees.
- Another way to experience cherry blossoms in Tokyo is by boat. Many companies offer boat rides through the Sumida River lined with cherry trees, providing a picturesque view of the city and the blossoms.
The experience of viewing cherry blossoms in Tokyo can be quite crowded due to the popularity of the event, so you may consider going early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds, and also see the blossoms lit up at night which can be quite spectacular. As the timing of cherry blossom season can vary from year to year, depending on weather conditions, so it's good to check for updates about the bloom status, before planning your trip.
Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots and Tours in Tokyo
1. Sakura in Tokyo: Cherry Blossom Experience
The Yanaka walking tour offers a unique opportunity to experience the cherry blossom season in an off-the-beaten-path, less crowded way. You will get to explore the back streets and the old neighbourhoods of Yanaka, learning about the area's history and culture. The tour includes a visit to a local art gallery and studio, where you can learn more about the local art scene. The tour also includes a real Hanami stroll with a local guide, who will provide tips on how to take great photos of the blossoms. Tasting of local snacks and sake is also included in the tour. The tour also provides an opportunity to browse local shops and experience the festive atmosphere of Yanaka. The tour is 2.5 hours long, has a light to moderate walking level, and includes a special Hanami bento, local snacks, and sweets. The Yanaka neighbourhood is famous for more than 100 temples and shrines and adorable cats. The tour can be taken during the best possible period based on the year's blooming of the cherry blossoms. This tour can be purchased for US$ 190 (about ₹ 15,600.00) from Get Your Guide.
2. Illuminated Cherry Blossom Viewing on Meguro River
This 3-hour tour offers a unique experience to see the cherry blossoms in the picturesque and trendy neighbourhood of Nakameguro. The tour takes place during the evening when the cherry blossom trees are lit up with lanterns and lights, creating a magical atmosphere. You will walk along the 2-kilometer route of the Meguro River/Canal lined with cherry trees, exploring the vibrant restaurants and shopping areas of Nakameguro. The tour includes trying local treats and beverages, including sweets, sembei and other special seasonal items. You will also enjoy a delicious dinner at a local Udon-Izakaya (pub) featuring local seasonal dishes, Japanese rice wine and handmade noodles. The tour is timed to coincide with the peak of the cherry blossom season, which typically lasts for only 2 weeks, the date of the bloom is hard to predict. A local guide will provide information about the area, the meaning and the reasons behind the sakura season, and the local specialties that are bound to please both the eye and the palate. This evening tour can be purchased for US$190 (about ₹ 15,600.00) from Get Your Guide.
3. Sakura Viewing in Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the most popular places in Tokyo to view cherry blossoms or "sakura" in Japanese. This large park features a wide variety of cherry trees, with over 1,000 cherry trees of different varieties, including Somei Yoshino, Yama-zakura, and Shidarezakura, which create a beautiful landscape when they are in full bloom. The best time to view the cherry blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen is typically in late March or early April when the trees are in full bloom. It also features several traditional Japanese gardens, including a formal garden, a landscape garden, and a traditional Japanese landscape garden. During this time, the park is typically very crowded with people enjoying the blossoms and having picnics under the trees. It is also worth mentioning that the park is huge and can take some time to explore. Entry to the park for adults is charged at US$ 4 (about ₹ 350.00). Check out more details on this site.
4. Custom Cherry Blossom Tour
This is a private and custom cherry blossom tour in Tokyo, led by a local guide. The tour will take you to several popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) locations, such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Park and Yoyogi Park. The tour may also include a visit to the Aoyama Cemetery, which is known for its picturesque cherry blossom trees. It will also include a visit to a nearby depachika (underground food hall), such as the historic Takashimaya Nihombashi, where you can pick up snacks for the picnic. Other places that might be included on the tour are Chidorigafuchi Moat, where you can take a boat and view the blossoms while floating down the tranquil moat. The tour is personalised, so the places to visit may differ from those listed and will be chosen based on your interests and preferences by your guide. The private viewing tour can be purchased for US$ 308 (about ₹ 25,300.00) from Viator.
5. Cherry Blossom Viewing in Ueno Park
Ueno Park is one of the most popular and well-known places in Tokyo to view cherry blossoms. This large park features over 1,000 cherry trees of different varieties, including Somei Yoshino and Yaezakura, which creates a beautiful landscape when they are in full bloom. The park also has a pond, where you can take a boat ride and enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms from the water. The best time to view the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park is typically in late March or early April when the trees are in full bloom. During this time, the park is typically very crowded with people enjoying the blossoms. Ueno Park is also home to many museums and temples, including the Tokyo National Museum and the Bentendo Temple. Entry to the park is free, however, to visit other attractions in the park you are charged US$ 5 (about ₹ 410.00) per person. You can get more details of the experience on Ueno Zoological Gardens.
6. Cherry Blossom Experience in Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park is a massive outdoor space located in Tachikawa, which boasts of a variety of flowers blooming throughout the year, with a special emphasis on cherry blossoms and their spectacular display of colours. The park sits against rows of nanohana (canola flowers), which add to the beauty of the cherry blossoms, creating a colorful blend of pink and yellow petals. One of the best things about Showa Kinen Park is its spaciousness. This allows you to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms while keeping a safe distance from others, making it an ideal place to visit during the pandemic. The entrance fee is US$ 4 (about ₹ 350.00), a reasonable price to enjoy the natural beauty and the wide variety of flowers. The park also has other features like a playground, a BBQ area and a large pond where you can take a boat ride. It's a great place to visit not just during the cherry blossom season but throughout the year. For more details check out Time Out.
7. Sakura Fes Nihonbashi
The Sakura Fes Nihonbashi is a popular event that takes place during the cherry blossom season in Tokyo. During the event, the Nihonbashi area showcases cherry blossoms in a variety of ways, including the illumination of approximately 100,000 LED bulbs at the Coredo Muromachi Terrace. The light scenes change throughout the event creating a dynamic ambiance. You can also find installations inspired by Nihonbashi's famous weeping cherry trees on the street between Coredo Muromachi 1 and 2. This event is also special during the night, as historical buildings like the Mitsui Main Building are illuminated in a soft pink light, adding to the atmosphere and making the event a great way to experience the beauty of the cherry blossoms in combination with the charm of Nihonbashi. The event is usually held from late March to early April depending on the blooming status. The tour is undertaken on a prior booking basis and can be customised. Check out Nihonbashi for further details.
8. Illuminated Weeping Cherry Trees in Rikugien Gardens
Rikugien Gardens is a beautiful traditional Japanese garden built in the 18th century for a feudal lord. The garden is known for its breathtaking weeping cherry tree, which is 15 meters tall and has branches that span 20 meters. It's a must-see during the cherry blossom season, not just during the day but also at night when the tree is illuminated with dozens of lights. The garden offers a different perspective at night, with the enchanting atmosphere that the lights create, making it an ideal spot to take in the beauty of the cherry blossoms. Rikugien Gardens is also a good option to combine traditional Japanese gardens and cherry blossom viewing for US$ 3 (about ₹ 250.00). Check out more details on its official website.
9. Chidori-ga-fuchi Green Way Cherry Blossom Viewing
The Chidori-ga-fuchi Green Way is a picturesque pathway located near Kudanshita and Hanzomon Stations in Tokyo. The greenway is approximately 700 meters long and stretches from Yasukuni-Dori Avenue to the northern Kitanomaru Garden. Along the path, there are 260 cherry trees planted, including the popular Yoshino cherry trees. This greenway is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing from late March to early April when the cherry trees are in full bloom. One of the highlights of the Chidori-ga-fuchi Green Way is the opportunity to rent a boat and go for a leisurely ride under the cherry blossoms, creating a unique and romantic experience for visitors. Also, the area has a lovely atmosphere to take a walk and enjoy the beauty of the sakura. The tickets are priced at US$ 6 (about ₹ 500.00) for 30 minutes and US$ 12 (about ₹ 1,000.00) for 1 hour. Check out Visit Chiyoda for more details.
10. Cherry Blossom Viewing in Asukayama Park
Asukayama Park is a lesser-known but still a worth-visiting spot for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo. Located near Oji station, in the Kita ward in the north of the city, this public park boasts an impressive 600 cherry trees. While it may not be as popular among foreign tourists as the more well-known parks like Ueno or Yoyogi, it's still a great spot to experience the local festive atmosphere during the cherry blossom season in the early spring. The park offers a great panoramic view of the cherry blossoms which creates a beautiful and serene scenery, perfect for picnics or just enjoying the view while having a walk. The entry is free but if you want to visit other attractions, you are charged US$ 7 (about ₹ 580.00). Find out more on Kita City.
Tips on How to Prepare for a Cherry Blossom Tour
- Check the Cherry Blossom Forecast: Before planning your tour, check the cherry blossom forecast to determine the best time to visit. Cherry blossom season is relatively short, typically lasting only a few weeks, so it's important to plan your tour during the peak bloom period.
- Dress Appropriately: Cherry blossom tours can involve a lot of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers to accommodate changing temperatures. Bring an umbrella or rain jacket as well, as the weather can be unpredictable.
- Pack Snacks and Water: Cherry blossom viewing can be a long and tiring experience, so it's important to bring snacks and water to keep you energized throughout the day.
- Bring a Camera or Smartphone: The cherry blossoms are incredibly beautiful, so be sure to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the stunning sights.
- Research the Location: Research the location of the cherry blossom tour in advance to find out what other sights and activities are nearby. This will allow you to plan your time and make the most of your visit.
- Consider the Time of Day: Some of you may prefer to see the cherry blossoms in the morning when the light is better for photographs. However, during the night some of the locations are illuminated and they offer a different perspective.
- Be Prepared for Crowds: Cherry blossom tours can be quite crowded, especially during the peak bloom period. Be prepared for large crowds and plan accordingly.
- Don't Forget the Hanami Picnic Items: Planning a picnic in your chosen park is included in the traditional way of enjoying cherry blossom.
Plan Your Cherry Blossom Viewing in Tokyo Meticulously
As you would have discovered by now, the cherry blossom season in Tokyo is of an extremely short duration and is very popular with both domestic and international tourists. It is therefore imperative that you plan your cherry blossom viewing trip to Tokyo meticulously and well in advance. We hope this BP Guide would have given you great ideas as to which places you would like to go for your cherry blossom viewing. Share your experiences with us and stay connected for more such engaging content.