Top 5 Hanami Spots in Tokyo

It's almost spring now which means that it's time for sakura viewing! Every year when the hanami season is near, many of my friends who are travelling to Japan will ask me the same question (every year!). "Where is the best place for sakura viewing?" and "Where should I go to see sakura?" are among the most asked questions I get.

To be honest, you can see sakura throughout Japan when it's their peak blooming time. However it highly depends on their breed, temperature and location to estimate the time they start to blossom. Once they start blooming, it stays for averagely one week before withering and fall. But the presence of strong wind and rain will accelerate the process further.

Having stayed in Japan for 5 years (in a row) now, I have visited numerous "top sakura viewing spots" in Tokyo and let me break down my Top 5 Favourite Hanami Spots for you.

1.    Chidoriga Fuchi 千鳥ヶ淵緑道


I visited this place at 2015 for the first time and it has since been one of my favourite hanami place. Unlike most of the popular sakura spot, this place has a river with sakura trees lining on both the banks. And the fallen sakura petals will float on the water, creating another superb view which can hardly be seen at any other places. Also, visitors may rent a boat for 800¥ every 30 minutes. Mind you though, the queue will be insane so please be patient and wait for your turn! 

For more info about this place, please refer to the link HERE. 

Sakura colour : Light pink
Spot for picnic : None
Food vendor : Yes
Instagram worthy : Yes
Entrance Fee : No
Estimated date 25 March - 3 April 2016
Nearest Station : Subway - Kudanshita (九段下駅)

2. Ueno Park  上野恩賜公園       


Ueno Park is one of the most popular hanami spot for the local as well as tourists, and it's also one of the very first place I went to see sakura. This spot is popular for its "narabiki" (並木) meaning the lining up of sakura tress on both sides of the walkway. It's also a popular spot for picnic because of its vast area and visitors are allowed to picnic at every corner of this park as long as you didn't block the pedestrians and clean up the place after use. 

For more info about this place, please refer to the link HERE

Sakura colour : Mostly white
Spot for picnic : Yes
Food vendor : No
Instagram worthy : Yes
Entrance Fee : No
Estimated date 19 March - 10 April 2016
Nearest Station : JR - Ueno (上野駅)

3. Shinjuku Gyoen 新宿御苑

Located 10 minutes away from the JR Shinjuku Station, this is another spot I liked immediately after I went last year. The difference of this sakura viewing spot with others is that the trees are more systematically planted, leaving a clean view with a very wide space for visitors to sit and picnic. Of course, this systematically taken care of place comes with a price. But trust me, it's definitely worth a visit.   

Sakura colour : White and pink
Spot for picnic : Yes
Food vendor : No
Instagram worthy : Yes
Entrance Fee : 200¥
Estimated date 25 March - 15 April 2016
Nearest Station : Subway - Shinjuku Gyoenmae (新宿御苑前駅), Shinjuku Sanchome (新宿三丁目駅), JR - Ichigaya (千駄ヶ谷駅)

4. Megurogawa  目黒川

This sakura viewing spot is actually ranked first in Japan! This place is famous (also) because of its superb view of sakura trees lining up both sides of the river. To get that "perfect view" of sakura lining both sides of the river means that you need to be standing from a bridge which everyone else is also thinking of getting to. However, to get that view with one shot is almost impossible unless you are strong enough to withstand the crowds flooding and pushing around you. Tips : To fight the crowds, it's best to go at dawn before everyone is awake. 
I went to Megurogawa's night sakura viewing instead of broad daylight. The crowds were unusually massive even the pedestrians passage was turned into a one-way road. The traffic police were busy directing the visitors to walk forward without turning back. It was such a chaos. 

Sakura colour : Pinkish white
Spot for picnic : No
Food vendor : No
Instagram worthy : Yes
Entrance Fee : No
Estimated date : 1-10 April 2016
Nearest Station : Subway - Nakameguro (中目黒駅), JR - Meguro (目黒駅)

5.  Yoyogi Park 代々木


To be honest, I am a bit reluctant to put Yoyogi Park in the top 5 of my sakura viewing spot because the sakura here is not as pretty as others that I previously introduced. However this hanami spot is popular among the youngsters and easily accessible. Plus, this park is also very wide, with fountains nearby the sakura viewing area. If you just want to take some sakura pictures and enjoy the accompaniment of your friends, this might be the right place for you. 

Sakura colour : Mostly white
Spot for picnic : Yes
Food vendor : Only a few
Instagram worthy : Not really
Entrance Fee : No
Estimated date 25 March - 10 April 2016
Nearest Station : Metro - Meiji Jingumae (明治神宮前駅), JR - Harajuku (原宿)


The estimated dates for sakura to bloom is only for reference, as you know that it's highly affected by the weather and temperature. You many follow up the latest updates from the official sakura website for more info. I am still thinking of which new hanami spot should I visit this year.  
For those of you who are coming to Japan soon, welcome to Japan and hopefully this guide will be somewhat useful to you. 
For those of you who is not coming this year, share this page with your friends who are coming and bookmark it for your future reference!    



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