Monday, March 4, 2024

My 5 Favourite Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo, Japan

When in Japan, especially in March to April in the season of spring, do not miss out on cherry blossom hunting. Whether you're first time visitor or a frequent traveller to this beautiful country, there is always something new to be discovered. From the most convenient of spots to see cherry blossoms to the most unexpected, my trip to Tokyo at the end of March 2023 was exactly just that. 

Here are some of my absolute favourite spots to visit and best of all, they are all free. 

1. Sakura Street, Shibuya

Located just a 5 minutes walk from Shibuya Station and Hachiko statue, is Sakura Street. You may have seen its S-shaped street on a slope on the internet as I did and it should come as no surprise that it gets crowded during the day. At night, they'll have lanterns and lights lilted up for a different vibe. Because my hotel was just a 1 minute walk away, I got to see this street at both times of the day and I will say that the morning vibe is my favourite.

Nearest station: Shibuya Station

2. Chidorigafuchi Park, Chiyoda

Be in awe of the long stretch of cherry blossom trees blooming along the moat of the Imperial Gardens of Tokyo. It's around this season that the queues for the boating experience starts to be peak as early as 8am from what I see online. While it does draw a crowd throughout the day, the stroll around the moat is still quite pleasant as there is plenty of space to move about and stop to take photos. 

Nearest stations: Hanzomon station or Kudanshita station

3. Nakameguro River, Meguro

Like Sakura Street, Nakameguro River also has a night illumination but it turns off quite early at 8pm. So take note of the timing if you're planning to visit at night or end up being like me and arriving just as the lights were turned off. Personally I prefer the river in the morning as there are fewer people compared to a near crowd crush in the evenings. Another benefit of this area is the famous and instagrammable Starbucks Reserve Roastery at the other end of the river if you're coming from Nakanomeguro station. In the spring, they have sakura-themed drinks, food and even merchandise. A popular spot to sit and cherry blossom watch is its balcony which had a long waiting time in the spring. 

Nearest station: Nakameguro station

4. Nakano Street, Nakano

Ah, my unexpected find in Tokyo on my first day. A whole two kilometer street of cherry blossoms trees and almost no tourists. There were many locals though flocking to the area and that's how you know it is a local secret. I almost want to gatekeep this place. Almost. I could have easily spent half a day in Nakano especially in Nakano Broadway for anime, gaming and photography. Besides the cherry blossoms, the alleys of Nakano are also throwbacks to olden day Japan. 

Nearest station: Nakano station

5. Arai Gochome Hodo Bridge, Nakano

As for why I was in Nakano, well, it was for this bridge. A bridge that offered a perfectly framed view of cherry blossom trees and the railway tracks where the yellow Seibu train would go rumbling past every 10 minutes or so for a nice contrasting shot. It is a popular spot amongst the local photographers and due to the cramp nature of the bridge, there is usually very little space to maneuver around to get that same shot. However you will be surprised that the angle from the street can also yield pretty results. 

Nearest station: Araiyakushi-Mae Station

From my experience, some of the best shots of cherry blossoms were taken in the early mornings before the crowd arrives and when the sun isn't too harsh yet. But in some spots, the crowd does add to the atmosphere and vibes. Another tip would be stay closely to a particular spot you really like so that you can be the first to visit it or make it the last spot of the day once the crowd has dispersed. 

Show me your cherry blossom snaps this year and tag me in your IG! 

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