Among Tokyo's many claims to fame, cherry blossoms are at the top of the list. Every year, you can feel the excitement as pink petals known as sakura fill the city in a picture-perfect welcome to spring. Here's what you need to know to plan your trip to see these fleeting beauties.
When to Go
Although exact peak bloom dates (known as mankai) change each year due to weather patterns, Tokyo reliably turns pink between early March and late April. A quick internet search can help you find this year’s flower forecast.
Where to Go
Among the dozens of places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, we have a few favorites:
Shinjuku Gyoen, a large park with a pond in the middle, is a popular place for hanami—the Japanese tradition of enjoying a picnic under the trees—especially during cherry blossom season.
Chidorigafuchi, a moat on the northwest side of Tokyo's Imperial Palace, is a less crowded spot loved by locals. Although it's not the best choice for a picnic, you can rent a boat and float down the waterway framed by branches covered in blossoms.Sumida Park offers a unique view, as the bright flowers pop against the Tokyo Skytree tower in the background. Visit the riverside park after dark to see the trees illuminated by lanterns.
How to Go
With so many viewing spots to choose from, a guided tour is a great way to squeeze the most cherry blossoms into your trip. Choose a full-day bus tour with lunch; combine your flower viewing with a visit to the top of Tokyo Tower; or take a shorter guided walk through a few of the pinkest parks in the city. See below for our top picks.