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The Best Places To See Late-Blooming Cherry Trees In Tokyo

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Many a cherry blossom party has been thwarted by wacky weather or unavoidable business trips, but even if the gods throw a wrench into your best-laid plans, don’t despair! Late-blooming yaezakura come into their full glory after the regular sakura fade to black. The late-bloomers don’t deliver the big pink cloud thing in quite the same way, but I secretly think they’re much more beautiful than the early kind.

This is the order they bloom in: little frilly weeping kind first, then the pom-pom clusters bloom from light to dark.
This is the order they bloom in: little frilly weeping kind first, then the pom-pom varieties explode from light to dark.

And just so you won’t waste time looking for yaezakura in less-than-amazing parks, here are my favorite places to see them in Tokyo…

SHINJUKU GYOU-EN GARDEN

This is by far the best place to see yaezakura in Tokyo. Lots of late-blooming trees, in every color of pink you can imagine.
This is by far the best place to see yaezakura in Tokyo. Lots of late-blooming trees, in every color of pink you can imagine.
The best grove starts beyond this bridge that goes over the big pond.
The best grove starts beyond this bridge that goes over the big pond.
See what I mean?
See what I mean?
There are a few exceptions, like this cluster of perfect pink princesses along the main swath of lawns.
There are a few exceptions, like this cluster of perfect pink princesses along the main swath of lawns.
To the left of the big pond (near the end) is a whole grove of late-blooming goodness.
I think that yaezakura are more beautiful up close than the more famous kind.
Worth the wait, right?
Worth the wait, right?
In case you couldn't tell in the other pictures, the trees at Shinjuku Gyou-en aren't the petite little specimens we have in San Francisco – they're HUGE!
In case you couldn’t tell in the other pictures, the trees at Shinjuku Gyou-en aren’t petite little specimens like we have in San Francisco – they’re HUGE!
Even if it's raining, I highly suggest that you pull on your wellies and get thee to this garden, pronto!
Even if it’s raining, I highly suggest that you pull on your wellies and get thee to this garden, pronto!

DIRECTIONS & MAP

IMPERIAL PALACE EAST GARDEN

Some choice pink yaezakura cascade over the tea bushes at the Imperial Palace East Garden
Some choice pink yaezakura cascade over the tea bushes at the Imperial Palace East Garden
Double yaezakura start blooming just as the regular sakura start to fade.
Double yaezakura start blooming just as the regular sakura start to fade.
The flowers on this rare kind of yaezakura start out white , then turn green!
The flowers on this rare kind start out white , then turn green!

DIRECTIONS & MAP

IMPERIAL PALACE MOAT

Outside Takebashi Station, a lovely cluster of late-blooming trees turns the walkway into a fairytale wonderland.
Outside Takebashi Station, a lovely cluster of late-blooming trees turns the walkway into a fairytale wonderland.
Here's the view, looking toward the Takebashi Bridge.
Here’s the view, looking toward the Takebashi Bridge.
Old stones, new blossoms
Old stones, new blossoms
On the right day, the moat is an improbably shade of blue.
On the right day, the moat is an improbable shade of blue.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

KYU SHIBA-RIKYU GARDEN

This small garden has the latest-blooming yaezakura (they are still gorgeous into the third week of April!)
This small garden has the latest-blooming yaezakura I’ve found – they’re still gorgeous well into the third week of April!
This variegated type blooms so late, you can see them with azaleas.
You can stand under the trees at Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu and feel like you are in a pink and white room.

DIRECTIONS & MAP

ASUKAYAMA PARK

Looks like a nice walk, huh?
You seldom see tourists at this wonderful northwest Tokyo park.
And they have an amazing variety of late-blooming trees.
And they have an amazing variety of late-blooming trees.

MAP

OUTSIDE THE NEW OTANI HOTEL

YaeNewOtani
Wow. Just...wow.
Wow. Just…wow.
Somehow, these trees are so spectacular, you don't even notice the boring old skyscrapers in the background.
Somehow, these trees are so spectacular, you barely even notice the boring old skyscrapers in the background.

MAP

“Without question, the best book I have read all year.” —Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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