Japan is famous for a lot of things.
One particular thing that sticks out though are the cherry blossoms. April through May is the prime time to be in Japan because of their stunning cherry blossoms. The Japanese take this opportunity to have picnics at parks with family, friends and coworkers. Especially during spring break and weekends, parks can be insanely busy. People go to the parks as early as 3 in the morning to save a spot for a picnic happening at 5PM! Especially in Japan, you’re allowed to drink alcohol openly so trust me that it can get rowdy during evening picnics, in a good way.
As a Tokyo native, I have some favorite places to enjoy cherry blossoms and thought I would take this opportunity to share them!
Meguro River – The first and main image is from Meguro River. Meguro River can get insanely busy during cherry blossom season. From the train station all the way to the river, you’ll be in a swarm of people trying to get a good view and picture of the cherry blossoms. It’s quite a long stretch so once you’re there, the crowd isn’t too bad. The fun thing about it is that several food trucks will come out for the occasion. Roasted corn, sake, crepes, noodles, the list goes on. Meguro River is also famous for their night showing of the cherry blossoms. They align the spotlights perfectly and makes the trees look completely magical. I went during the day on one of the days and returned after dark on another – same place, completely different experience.
Yoyogi Park – The photo with the water fountain. Yoyogi Park can also be a tourist spot. It’s a huge park near Harajuku and Shibuya, once hosted the Tokyo Olympics. This park has hundreds of cherry blossom trees through the entire property. The trees paint the park in a beautiful pink during the season. There’s plenty of picnic space, soft grass instead of concrete like some other areas. You can also bike through certain areas of the park, which makes for a fun and beautiful ride.
Komaba Park – I’m sharing my little secret with you. Komaba Park is somewhat of a local park with almost 0% chance of tourists. It’s right next to Tokyo University (Harvard of Japan) and usually hosts families from the neighborhood. It’s a small circular field of cherry blossoms but doesn’t make it any less pretty. On a sunny day, you can lay out and enjoy a book under the fluffy, pink trees.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, “When is the best time to go to Japan for cherry blossoms?”
The answer? It depends. With global warming, everything changes. Back when I used to live in Tokyo, it was guaranteed the first week of April. But this year? It was late April through May! So if you’re serious about being there during cherry blossom season, make sure you check Japanese sources and news sites online to see when they expect it to be in full bloom as they track it the most accurately.
Want more cherry blossoms and some food as well? Check out my latest post on Tokyo by clicking here!
Each park has different rules for picnics – be a good visitor and follow them!