The hanami -meaning “to look at flowers”- is such a loved Japanese tradition. During a couple weeks time, the cherry blossom trees bloom painting Tokyo white and pink. In Japan, both the trees and flowers are named “sakura” and they are one of the most famous symbols of Japanese culture. The fact that these flowers last so little invites people to contemplate the beauty of life and the importance of enjoying our time on Earth. Mindfulness, Japanese style.
The hanami is sadly coming to an end and most of the trees are loosing their sakura flowers. If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you have already heard of my week of daily hanami live videos in which I showed some of the best spots to see and enjoy the sakura. If you missed them and/or for your future hanami planning reference, here are my favorite spots:
Super popular spot in central Tokyo. The sides of the Meguro river are a very lively area all year long and during the hanami it becomes very crowded. Still, very picture-worthy both on the day time and later when the pink lanterns are lit up.
My favorite park in Tokyo! There are a lot of trees and the little lake makes even more special. If you come as a couple, remember not to use the little swan pedal boats together. People say that any couple that does, will break up!
Love how big it is and how many cherry blossoms trees there are, hate the awful amounts of people that gather there. I remember having to use one of the portable toilets there as my worse toilet experience ever (and I’ve been to music festivals…). My advise? Go early in the morning, enjoy the trees and flowers, and move to a quieter and cleaner place for lunch/drinks.
Ueno is another spot that gets really beautiful but also incredibly crowded. Avoid Fridays and weekends for a little more calmness, and don’t forget to feast on the many panda-inspired treats the local stores sell.
Do you want impressive sakura trees minus the thousands of people? Kinuta is a beautiful green area in Setagaya that has incredible cherry blossom trees and becomes a lot less crowded than all the previous ones. You will have to bring your own food and drink since there will be no stalls around though.
The trees around Hachiko statue are cherry blossoms indeed, but south Shibuya station and crossing the highway, there’s a street with many sakura trees that ends up in an iconic wall of pink lanterns. You can’t really sit under these but still, the view is great and the location is unbeatable.
The sides of Sumida river have tons of sakura trees and an amazing view. You can see the Asahi building and Tokyo Skytree, and there are gorgeous parks and shrines within walking distance.
Here’s the map:
Have you ever come to the hanami in Japan? Which is your favorite spot?