My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: March 3, 2023
A visit to Tokyo in late March or early April isn't complete without a hanami (flower-viewing) session to see Japan's iconic cherry blossoms, or sakura. If you can't get enough of these tiny, delicate blossoms in daytime, they're just as lovely at night. During cherry blossom season, many parks and gardens—and even some neighborhoods—light up their cherry trees from sundown. The illuminated flowers, which give off an ethereal glow, are called yozakura—cherry blossoms at night.
The cherry tree-lined path along the banks of the Chidori-ga-fuchi Moat is a sight to behold. Some 260 trees, mainly of the famous Somei Yoshino variety, bloom along the 700-meter-long walkway, forming what looks like a tunnel of cherry blossoms. At night, the illuminated blossoms and the buildings in the Marunouchi business district, complement each other beautifully. The Chidorigafuchi boating area is open until late night during the Chiyoda Sakura-matsuri Festival. Whether during the day or at night, you can enjoy the view of cherry blossoms hanging over the moat.
Sakura Festival in Chiyoda
Nakameguro is a low-key but chic neighborhood full of trendy restaurants and shops. The Meguro River flowing through this residential district is one of Tokyo's most famous spots for cherry blossom-viewing. Some 800 trees lining a 3.8-kilometer-long stretch form a pale pink arch over the river—a gorgeous sight that makes for lovely photos. During the Nakameguro Sakura-matsuri Festival in early April, this quiet neighborhood comes alive as the trees between Saikachi-bashi Bridge and Nanbu-bashi Bridge are illuminated. In addition to the illuminations, paper lanterns and food stalls lend a festive atmosphere to the area. Take a stroll down Nakameguro and enjoy this splendid view.
Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival
Rikugien is the perfect example of an Edo period Japanese garden. It was constructed in 1702 by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, a feudal lord and vassal to the shogun (military commander), who was inspired by the picturesque scenes in waka poetry. On the flatlands of the former Musashino region, Yanagisawa dug ponds and built hills to create a classic example of a luxurious garden, worthy of a feudal lord. Walking past the front gate within the gardens brings into view an impressive 70-year-old shidarezakura (weeping cherry blossom) tree. Even today, its branches are each covered in pale pink flowers during cherry blossom season. The sight of its petals flowing down like a waterfall is absolutely worth seeing.
Illuminated Weeping Cherry Trees in a Feudal Lord's Garden
The area around Tokyo Midtown has around 100 cherry trees, most of which are of the Somei Yoshino variety. Together with the cherry trees in nearby Hinokicho Park, they make for some amazing spring scenery. The blossoms on Sakura-dori Street are illuminated at night, making for a romantic view in the heart of Tokyo. The lights change colors throughout cherry blossom season. Every year, Tokyo Midtown holds an event called Midtown Blossom to celebrate cherry blossom season. Midtown Blossom 2023 will feature an outdoor lounge that offers a trendy take on cherry blossom viewing, dynamic displays of art using spring flowers inside the building, and a host of other activities and attractions.
MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2023
Located along the picturesque Sumida River, Sumida Park is a wonderful place to view cherry blossoms at night. The park is home to over 500 cherry trees of the Somei-yoshino, Oshima and Sato-zakura varieties. It also boasts a fantastic view of the TOKYO SKYTREE. From late March to early April, the annual Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival takes place at the park. The cherry trees are illuminated at night during the festival, so visitors can appreciate their beauty even after dark. You can also take a boat ride for an even more spectacular blossom-viewing experience.
Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival