The Best Cherry Blossom Spots In Tokyo – With Maps!

There are a few exceptions, like this cluster of perfect pink princesses along the main swath of lawns.

Whether you’re all about the beer drinking or just want to win a few photo contests, first you gotta find the big pink things. Here’s a list of my all-time favorite hanami party and petal-snapping spots, with maps so you don’t waste time trying to locate the pinkness!

CherryMapLegendpsd

🔎 Google map

CherryMapTokyo

🔎 Google map

Here’s what the early blooming flowers look like (see them in the last week of March):

The early blooming cherries are the classic “single petal” variety, and the trees are so covered with them they look like pink clouds

Here’s what the late blooming flowers look like (see them in the first week of April):

The late-blooming flowers are the frilly “double” variety, and always bloom in clusters

PLACES WITH BOTH EARLY AND LATE BLOOMING CHERRY TREES:

SHINJUKU GYOU-EN GARDEN

Admission: ¥200
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Picnics/alcohol: Yes picnics/No alcohol (and they’re serious: there’s a bag check before you enter, and they’ll confiscate any booze they find.)

🔎 Google map

CherryMapShinGyo

🔎 Google map

Here’s what the early blooming trees look like (see them in the last week of March):

HANAMIShinjuku

SPOT #1: If you get there when the park opens at 9:00, you can often see the trees perfectly reflected in the pond before the breeze kicks up

CherryShinGyo

SPOT #2: The wide grass promenades through the center of the park are lined with huge cherry trees

Here’s what the late blooming trees look like (see them in the first week of April):

The best grove starts beyond this bridge that goes over the big pond.

SPOT #3: The best grove starts beyond this bridge that goes over the big pond

There are a few exceptions, like this cluster of perfect pink princesses along the main swath of lawns.

SPOT #4: This cluster of perfect pink princesses is found along the main swath of lawns

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!

SPOT #5: There’s a large grove of late-bloomers at the far end of the big pond

IMPERIAL PALACE

Admission: Free
Hours: Inside the palace gates – 9:00 – 17:00; outside the gates – always open, and the walk along Spot #1 is lit up at night until 22:00
Picnics/alcohol: Inside palace gates – No picnics/No alcohol; Outside palace gates – Yes picnics/Yes alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapImperial

🔎 Google map

Here’s what the early blooming trees look like (see them in the last week of March):

This wave of pink is all along the Imperial Palace Moat, as you walk from Kudanshita Station toward Hanzomon Station

SPOT #1: This wave of pink is all along the Imperial Palace Moat, as you walk from Kudanshita Station toward Hanzomon Station

Nice of those people to stand in line for hours and pay a ton of money so we could take pictures of them on the moat.

As a special bonus, this part of the moat is lit up at night until 22:00 during cherry blossom season

SPOT #5: The Ni-no-Maru Garden inside the moat has both early and late blooming trees, plus a nice reflecting pond

SPOT #5: The Ni-no-Maru Garden inside the moat has both early and late blooming trees, plus a nice reflecting pond

Here’s what the late blooming trees look like (see them in the first week of April):

HANAMIImpPalace

SPOT #2: Rare varieties of cherry trees border the walkway outside the Imperial Palace

Outside Takebashi Station, a lovely cluster of late-blooming trees turns the walkway into a fairytale wonderland.

SPOT #3: A lovely cluster of late-blooming trees turns the moat near Takebashi Station into a fairytale wonderland.

Some choice pink yaezakura cascade over the tea bushes at the Imperial Palace East Garden

SPOT #4: Choice pink yaezakura cascade over the tea bushes at the upper East Garden (the one past Ni-no-Maru, that you have to climb up the big ramp to enter)

On the right day, the moat is an improbably shade of blue.

SPOT #6: Late-blooming trees put on a glorious show along the moat, at the end closer to Hanzomon Station

MONZEN NAKACHO

Admission: Free
Hours: Always open, lit up at night until 21:00
Picnics/alcohol: There’s no place for picnics, but the lantern-lit walk is fantastic and uncrowded

🔎 Google map

CherryMapMonzen

🔎 Google map

Here’s what the early blooming trees look like (see them in the last week of March):

Lanterns line the path along the nicely narrow river near Monzen Nakacho station.

SPOT #1: Lanterns line the path along the canal near Monzen Nakacho station. This is the view from the traffic bridge.

Cherry trees bloom like crazy along this little-known canal near Monzen-Nakacho Station. You can get amazing pictures from the bridges that criss-cross the water at easily-walkable intervals!

SPOT #2: During the day, you can get amazing pictures from the bridges that criss-cross the water at easily-walkable intervals

You can walk all along the water on this lovely (and deserted!) path, lined with paper lanterns.

You can walk all along the water on this lovely (and deserted!) path

Further along the river, cherry trees spill over both sides of the banks.

At night, the lanterns are lit from 18:00 – 21:00

Here’s what the late blooming trees look like (see them in the first week of April):

SPOT 3#: There's a particularly beautiful kind of late blooming cherry at the Tomioka Shrine.

SPOT 3#: There’s a particularly beautiful kind of late blooming cherry at the Tomioka Shrine.

•••

Places to see before the end of March, because the trees bloom early at these spots:

ASAKUSA

Admission: Free
Hours: Always open; the Sumida River walk is lit up at night until 22:00
Picnics/alcohol: Yes picnics/Yes alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapAsakusa

🔎 Google map

HANAMISumidagawa

SPOT #1: The Sumida River near Asakusa Station is one of the most famous places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo. For an alternative view, take the waterbus down the river!

Hordes of people crowd the walkways along the Sumida River, but they often miss this park when they turn inland on their way to Skytree.

SPOT #2: Hordes of people crowd the walkways along the Sumida River, but they often miss this park when they turn inland on their way to Skytree.

From inside the Mimeguri Shrine, the cherry-shaded walkways beckon.

From inside the Ushima Shrine, the cherry-shaded walkways beckon.

And, of course, if you want cherry blossom-encrusted shots of the big Skytree thing, this is the place to whip out your camera.

And, of course, if you want cherry blossom-encrusted shots of the big Skytree thing, this is the place to whip out your camera.

If you're really lucky, this lovely promenade will have water cascading down the center, but even when it's dry, it's a wonderful place to walk and eat your bento.

SPOT #3: This jewel of a street has a stream running down the middle of it (although it doesn’t always have water in it) and during cherry blossom season it becomes a bower of white. This is a great place to bring your lunch and rest your feet, in the middle of Asakusa.

This secret garden is hidden right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Senso-ji temple and it's only open around cherry blossom season, so most people don't even know it's there.

SPOT #4: This secret garden is hidden right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Senso-ji temple and it’s only open around cherry blossom season, so most people don’t even know it’s there.

Denpo-in Garden Admission: ¥300
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Picnics/alcohol: No picnics/No alcohol

MEGURO RIVER

Admission: Free
Hours: Always open, lit up at night until 21:00 during cherry blossom season
Picnics/alcohol: Yes picnics/Yes alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapNaka

🔎 Google map

HANAMINakameguro

You can see why the Meguro River is no longer an undiscovered jewel of cherry blossom season...

The blossoms are lit up at night with lanterns all along the canal. Lots of food and drink for sale at little stands along the way.

YOYOGI PARK

Admission: Free
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Picnics/alcohol: Yes picnics/Yes alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapYoyogi

🔎 Google map

HANAMIYoyogi

SPOT #1: Even when the ground is paved with cherry blossom parties, the trees are splendid in Yoyogi Park

RIKUGI-EN GARDEN

Admission: ¥300
Hours: 9:00 – 21:00 during cherry blossom season
Picnics/alcohol: No picnics/No alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapRikugien

🔎 Google map

HANAMIRikugien

SPOT #1: There are other pink trees dotted around this fab garden, but the one everyone comes to see is this huge weeping cherry.

This tree never disappoints. It takes over your camera like some kid of poltergeist, and when you get home, you discover that somehow you have 612 shots of ONE TREE.

The trees are lit up at night during The Season, and the garden is open until 21:00.

KORAKU-EN GARDEN

Admission: ¥300
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Picnics/alcohol: No picnics/No alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapKorakuen

🔎 Google map

Here's another behemoth – this one is at Korakuen.

SPOT #1: This garden doesn’t have a lot of cherry trees, but the ones that are here are really spectacular.

CherryKorakuen

SPOT #2: Trees bordering the big pond in the late afternoon

•••

Places where you can see trees blooming into mid-April:

KYU-SHIBA-RIKYU GARDEN

Admission: ¥150
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Picnics/alcohol: No picnics/No alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapKyuShiba

🔎 Google map

This small garden has the latest-blooming yaezakura (they are still gorgeous into the third week of April!)

SPOT #1: This small garden has the latest-blooming yaezakura I’ve found – they’re still blooming strong, well into the third week of April

This variegated type blooms so late, you can see them with azaleas.

SPOT #2: You can stand under the trees at Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu and feel like you are in a pink and white room.

ASUKAYAMA PARK

Admission: Free
Hours: Always open; lit up at night during cherry blossom season until 21:00
Picnics/alcohol: Yes picnics/Yes alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapAsukayama

🔎 Google map

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.

OUTSIDE THE NEW OTANI HOTEL

Admission: Free
Hours: Always open
Picnics/alcohol: No picnics/No alcohol

🔎 Google map

CherryMapNewOtani

🔎 Google map

YaeNewOtani

SPOT #1: The late blooming yaezakura lining the street outside the New Otani hotel are worth a special trip.

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.

Read a novel set in Tokyo during cherry blossom season

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more