Tokyo has more than 13 million citizens, all of them, plus a growing number of tourists, love Hanami, Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing.
Hanami diehards wake up very early to get their spot in the most famous parks like Ueno and lie their plastic mat under sakura trees but is it really worth it?
Well, it depends on your ideal of Hanami, if you are thinking about having a picnic with friends, be loud and end up with a karaoke session in the park then I’d say crowded places might do for you. If you think of Hanami as a romantic occasion to spend with your loved one or you simply don’t like crowded places than go for less famous places. I said less famous not less beautiful. Here some picks for you. ヾ(〃^∇^)ﾉ
1. MONZEN NAKACHO STATION – 門前仲町駅
If you exit the station using exit number 4 you just have to walk a few meters straight and you will be already along the canal where cherry trees bloom reflect themselves in the water. You can take amazing pictures from the bridges that cross the canal or simply take a walk along the river banks.
2. SUMIDA PARK – 墨田公園
This park is more quiet, mostly because tourists cross the bridge to go to the Tokyo Sky Tree and do not stop here. You can get off your train at Asakusa Station and walk along the river bank where sakura blossom.
This area might be crowed so cross the bridge, take amazing pink pictures from the bridge and then enter Sumida Park to take more pictures with Tokyo Sky Tree in the background. The park is also less crowded especially if you go on week days. If you’d like to have your bento lunch here go before 11 because sometimes also employees from the companies nearby have the chance to enjoy hanami with colleagues and you risk to miss the best spots.
3. SHINJUKU GYOEN – 新宿御苑
Shinjuku Gyoen is open from 9.00 to 16.30 (entrance allowed until 16.00) and the entrance fee is 200 yen. It is one of the most popular parks for hanami but it is also very large so you have good chances of finding a nice spot to lie down under cherry trees. Moreover this park is less noisy compared to other popular parks like Yoyogi and Ueno.
4. INOKASHIRA PARK – 井の頭恩賜公園
This is my favorite spot for hanami. There are around 500 cherry trees in this park in Mitaka. It is popular among locals rather than tourists because it is not one of the central wards but maybe you can stop by after a visit to the Ghibli Museum. There is also a quite large pond in the middle of the park but beware if you are thinking of going there with your partner, they say that couples rowing on the lake will soon break up. Are you superstitious?