There are many wonderful cherry blossom festivals in Japan. In Tokyo, visit Shinjuku Gyoen (near Shinjuku station). There are thousands of species of cherry trees growing here. Yoyogi is another park that is popular for picnics during the season. The park has large expanses of lawn on which to set up blankets and tables. Over in Nakameguro, near Shibuya, more than 800 cherry trees line the Meguro River, producing a magnificent spectacle of pink blossoms along the riverbank. This is especially pretty at night when the trees are lit up with lanterns.
Bokutei Cherry Blossom Festival
One of Japan’s most beloved hanami festivals, the Bokutei Festival is located in Sumida Park between the Azumabashi Bridge and the Sakurabashi Bridge. This one-kilometre boulevard attracts huge crowds throughout the season. The blossoms are illuminated at night, as is the spectacular Tokyo Skytree, so there is no need to rush off when the sun sets. For a different perspective you can hire a boat and enjoy a view of the cherry blossoms from the river. You’ll also find Japanese performance artists entertaining guests with their bamboo blinds throughout the festival.
Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival
Ueno Park has over 800 cherry trees which are also illuminated after dusk. Large crowds are attracted to the festivities here, as the park has been made famous in Japanese literature and photography for centuries. Park stalls sell delicious food like yakitori, takoyaki and yakisoba, or you can bring your own picnic. The Aozora Antique Market also runs during the cherry blossom festival.
Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival
One of Tokyo’s most famous locations for cherry blossom viewing, the festival is held along the Nakameguro Canal. Grab a sakura-themed pink champagne and explore the shops and stalls lining the water’s edge. Venture onto the bridges that cross the river to enjoy the incredible view from as many vantage points as possible.
Chiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival
This is one of Tokyo’s best places to see cherry blossoms. At Kitanomaru Park, visitors can hire a rowboat and enjoy the view of the blossoms from the moat of the historic Edo Castle. There are food stalls set up along the 700 metre walkway and the trees are illuminated at night, to keep the festivities going.