Best time to travel to Tokyo

Cherry Blossom in Tokyo

The favorite natural attraction for Tokyo residents and visitors

Best time: late March–early April

Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom

Cherry blossom is a special period everywhere in Japan, and Tokyo is no exception. Admiration for Sakura blossoms is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. For hundreds of years, it has symbolised the extreme fragility and the beauty of life. When the cherry blossoms start blooming around the last week of March in Tokyo, it's like a national holiday as parks fill with people photographing and enjoying the natural phenomenon. The Japanese tradition of enjoying the transient beauty of blossoms is called 'hanami'.

The weather bureau forecasts the cherry blossom season ('sakura-zensen' in Japanese), and the dates are important to know as the blossoms last only a week or two. Full bloom is called “mankai” in Japanese. It usually occurs in Tokyo in the first days of April. About a week later, all the blossoms fall on the ground creating a pink or white carpet.

The dates of cherry blossom vary every year as it depends on the weather. So the trip to witness the blossom season is hard to plan in advance, but the period between late March and early April is undoubtedly the safest bet.

There are a few places in Tokyo where cherry blossom is especially glorious. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a green 58-ha oasis in the middle of the city, not far from the Shinjuku Station, that hosts 1,100 Japanese cherry trees. By the entrance to the garden, vendors sell Japanese souvenirs with a cherry blossom theme. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ueno Park is another popular cherry blossom viewing spot that has had cherry trees since the 16th century. About 800 cherry trees bloom along the central alley forming an impressive display. The park is open from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

If you want to combine cherry blossom viewing with a trip to the Imperial Palace, visit Chidorigafuchi Park, located on the northwest side of the building. About 1,000 trees are in bloom there.

Sumida Park in Taito-ku is a great place to make a photo with a Tokyo Skytree on the background. Also, you can take a boat trip for an unforgettable experience. The same goes for Inokashira Park featuring 250 trees.

Practical info

When should tourists visit Tokyo for cherry blossom?

To catch the blooming of cherry trees in Tokyo, it's best to plan a visit in late March or early April, though this timing can vary each year depending on the weather. During this period, tourists can witness the full bloom of cherry blossoms in Japan, which locals refer to as mankai. Checking the forecast near the travel date is a good idea to avoid missing these fragile wonders. Show more

What are some of the top parks to enjoy cherry blossom in Tokyo?

Tokyo has several parks where cherry blossom viewing is at its finest, including Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Ueno Park, Chidorigafuchi Park, Sumida Park, and Inokashira Park. These spots boast thousands of cherry trees, so visitors can enjoy a picturesque view. However, since peak blooming time can vary each year, it's recommended to monitor local forecasts for accurate dates and places for the best experience. Show more

How long is cherry blossom season in Tokyo?

In Tokyo, cherry blossom season only lasts for about 1-2 weeks, so visitors will want to keep an eye on local weather forecasts to avoid missing it. During this time, they can witness the full bloom of these delicate blossoms. Once the blooming period ends, the cherry blossoms fall, and the season abruptly comes to an end, so timing is critical for those who hope to enjoy the beauty of these blooms. Show more

What does the term 'hanami' mean in Japan?

When in Japan, 'hanami' refers to the traditional practice of flower-viewing, mostly associated with cherry blossom, also known as sakura. It's an entrenched custom where observers usually gather with friends and family under flowering cherry trees, celebrating the arrival of spring while marveling at the beauty and transience of life. Moreover, it is common for enthusiasts to organize picnic parties during this period, further adding to the festivity. Show more

Is it possible to predict cherry blossom season dates precisely in Tokyo?

Though challenging, predicting exact cherry blossom dates in Tokyo is possible. The Japanese Meteorological Agency provides regular forecasts updated months in advance that predicts the peak cherry blossom blooming period, which travelers can use to plan their trip dates. However, the blooming period varies significantly with weather conditions, so travelers should confirm the dates near their trip time, ensuring they witness the best sight of these elegant blossoms. Show more

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