The time of the beautiful cherry blossom season is getting closer in Japan (see the latest update on our sakura forecast 2021). Many of you are excited to see the stunning flowers and looking forward to having a hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) under the beautiful cherry blossom trees in full bloom, but this year, again, might be a different situation. It’s better to avoid the crowded popular spots in Tokyo, and probably having a big hanami party is not a good idea at all. But not to worry, there are some hidden places where you can enjoy cherry blossoms peacefully without worrying about social distancing. In this article, we cover the hidden and secret cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo.
1. Kinuta Park
Kinuta Park is a huge former golf park dating back to 1957, which is located in Setagaya Ward. Because it is a 20-minutes walk from Yoga Station, the park is mainly popular among neighbors and that makes it the best spot to enjoy cherry blossom trees. Another reason is that there are several types of sakura trees located at the park ensuring a longer sakura viewing period. The park has enough spaces for visitors to lay down a tarp on the ground and have a small picnic. There are two small bakery shops and one of them sells the local specialty called Kinuta Yaki; a Japanese pancake filled with sweet red beans/custard cream with a cute Tanuki raccoon stamp on top.
In addition, Setagaya Art Museum is located at the park, their permanent collections feature some Naïve Art including work by Henri Rousseau as well as Japanese local artists. After enjoying cherry blossom viewing, visit the art museum surrounded by beautiful nature.
2. Musashiseki Park
A short train ride away from Nakano, the forested Musashiseki Park has a big pond shaped like a gourd, which allows you to admire the cherry blossom trees from a boat (¥200 /30 min). The 100 years old park is a 10 minutes walk from Higashi-Fushimi Station. The serene park houses a playground, and is also a good place for running since there are not so many people around.
3. Zenpukujigawa Park
Zenpukujigawa Park is a quiet park along the Zenpukuji River. During spring, about 400 cherry blossoms are blooming stunningly alongside the river. You can walk from Minami Asagaya Station for 10 minutes or get off the bus at Zenpukujigawa Ryokuchi Koen Mae Stop. (Kanto Bus runs between JR Nakano Station and Kichijoji Station)
4. Oyoko River
Hop on a train to Monzen-Nakacho Station, where you find Oyoko River, a cherry-blossom tree lined river that flows from Sumida Ward to Koto Ward. Only in spring, traditional boats are running on the river which will take you back in time to the Edo period! Usually paper lanterns are displayed alongside the river and they will be illuminated in the evening. You can see the early-blooming cherry blossoms such as Kawazu-zakura along the river with the sight of Tokyo Skytree in the end of January to the end of February.
5. Kanda River (Omokage Bridge)
In spring a long Sakura tunnel will appear along Kanda River, the long river which stretches about 25 km from Inokashira Park to Sumida River. The recommended walking route to enjoy cherry blossom viewing is starting from Edogawabashi Station and continues towards Omokage Bridge. This area used to be home to many dyeing manufactures and developed a dyeing industry thanks to clean water supply from the Kanda River. Tokyo Some Monogatari Museum offers a dyeing experience and opportunities to learn about the kimono culture and traditional dyeing techniques. The modern styled dyeing items will be available at the museum shop.
Located near Oji Station in the north of Tokyo, Asukayama Park has about 600 cherry blossom trees on site. A ropeway is running between the short distance from the bottom of the park to the top of the hill (free of charge). It’s been loved by locals for centuries, ever since the 8th Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune planted sakura trees and made the park accessible to the public for cherry blossom viewing during the Edo period. Paper lanterns are hanging among the trees illuminating the blossoming sakura which allows visitors to enjoy cherry blossoms also at night.
Close to Shibasaki and Tsutsujigaoka Station, Nogawa runs through a quiet neighborhood of Chofu City. In spring, people enjoy walking alongside the river with a view of the beautiful cherry blossom tunnel and pretty canola flowers which create a pleasing yellow carpet. Even though it’s only 30 minutes away from Shinjuku, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while listening to the soothing sound of the flowing river.
8. Kinshi Park
Near Kinshicho Station, Kinshi Park is a small park located in the center of the city. You can take a picture with cherry blossom trees and Tokyo Skytree together. It’s been a hidden spot only known to locals for a long time, but lately it’s gaining more attention and many people visit the park after shopping in the area around Kinshicho Station.
9. Kunitachi Station (Daigaku Dori & Sakura Dori)
Two cherry blossom viewing spots are located near Kunitachi Station, one is Daigakudori (University Street) which stretches south from the South Exit of the station. Local people planted about 340 cherry blossom trees alongside the road in 1934. And a little further up the road is Sakura Dori (Sakura Street), where 209 cherry blossom trees were planted in 1967.
Korakuji is a temple built in 1533 in Hachioji City, and on the temple grounds you can see a 200 years old weeping cherry blossom tree. It blooms at the end of March till the end of April. It’s called Sakura Princess because its lovely appearance looks like a princess wearing a Japanese woven hat when it fully blooms. You can walk there from Takao Station.
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