The beautiful cherry blossom season is approaching in Japan (see the latest update on our sakura forecast 2022). We’re sure many of you are excited to see the stunning pink flowers and do hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) under the beautiful cherry blossom trees in full bloom. However, this year, like the past few years, still might not be the same as before the pandemic. It’s better to avoid the crowded popular spots in Tokyo, and having a big hanami party is probably not the best idea. But not to worry, there are some hidden places where you can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms peacefully without worrying about big crowds and social distancing. In this article, we will cover the hidden and secret less crowded cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo!
1. Kinuta Park
Kinuta Park is a huge former golf course that dates back to 1957, which is located in Setagaya Ward. Because it is a 20-minute walk from Yoga Station and fairly off the beaten path, the park is typically only popular among the people living in the neighborhood, making it a great spot to enjoy cherry blossoms. 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 some cherry blossom viewing, why not check out the art museum surrounded by beautiful nature as well.
2. Musashiseki Park
A short train ride away from Nakano, the forest surrounded 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 year old park is a 10 minute walk from Higashi-Fushimi Station. The serene park houses a playground, and is a good place for running since there are not so many people around.
3. Zenpukuji River
During spring, about 400 stunning cherry blossom trees are blooming alongside the Zenpukuji River. You can walk from Minami Asagaya Station for about 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 the train to Monzen-Nakacho Station, where you will find Oyoko River, a cherry-blossom tree lined river that flows from Sumida Ward to Koto Ward. Only during the spring time, traditional boats are run on the river which will take you back in time to the Edo period! Usually paper lanterns are displayed alongside the river as well, illuminating the area in the evening. You can see the early-blooming cherry blossoms such as Kawazu-zakura along the river with the view of the Tokyo Skytree from the end of January to the end of February.
5. Kanda River (Omokage Bridge)
In spring a long Sakura tunnel will appear along the Kanda River, a long river that stretches about 25 km from Inokashira Park to Sumida River. The recommended walking route to enjoy cherry blossom viewing starts from Edogawabashi Station and continues on towards Omokage Bridge. This area used to be home to many dyeing manufacturers and developed a dyeing industry thanks to clean water supply from the Kanda River. Tokyo Some Monogatari Museum offers a dyeing experience and the opportunity to learn about the kimono culture as well as traditional dyeing techniques. The modern styled dyeing items will be available at the museum shop.
Located near Oji Station in the north end of Tokyo, Asukayama Park has about 600 cherry blossom trees on site. A ropeway runs from the bottom of the park to the top of the hill (free of charge). This park has been loved by locals for centuries, ever since the 8th Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune planted sakura trees here and made the park accessible to the public for cherry blossom viewing during the Edo period. Paper lanterns are hung on the trees, illuminating the blossoming sakura which allows visitors to enjoy cherry blossoms at night as well.
7. Nogawa River
Close to Shibasaki and Tsutsujigaoka Station, Nogawa River runs through a quiet neighborhood of Chofu City. In spring, people enjoy walking alongside the river with a view of the beautiful cherry blossom tunnels and pretty canola flowers which create a pleasing yellow carpet. Even though it’s only 30 minutes away from the bustling Shinjuku, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while listening to the soothing sound of the flowing river at this peaceful place.
8. Kinshi Park
Near Kinshicho Station, Kinshi Park is a small park located in the center of the city. You can take some good pictures with cherry blossom trees and the Tokyo Skytree in the background. It has been a hidden spot only known to the locals for quite some time now, but lately it’s gaining more attention and many people visit the park after shopping in the area near Kinshicho Station.
9. Kunitachi Station (Daigaku Dori & Sakura Dori)
There are two great cherry blossom viewing spots located close to Kunitachi Station. One of them 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 back in 1934. A little further up the road is Sakura Dori (Sakura Street), where 209 cherry blossom trees were planted in 1967 for locals and visitors alike to view.
Korakuji is a temple that was built in 1533 in Hachioji City. On the temple grounds you can see a 200 year old weeping cherry blossom tree! It typically blooms from the end of March until the end of April. It’s called the Sakura Princess because its lovely appearance is said to look like a princess wearing a Japanese woven hat when it is in full bloom. You can walk there pretty quickly from Takao Station.
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We hope you are able to check out some of these hidden and less crowded cherry blossom viewing spots in the Tokyo area this year!
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