A complete guide to Tokyo cherry blossom season 2024 (+ festival dates and a map of the best sakura spots).
Cherry blossom season (sakura) is one of the most magical times of the year in Japan. It is celebrated as a symbol of renewal, hope, and the fleeting essence of life. Each year, millions of people visit Japan during the sakura season to admire the beautiful cherry flowers.
The viewing of the cherry blossoms, known as hanami (in Japanese) can be traced back to the 8th century. It is believed to have been started by nobles during the Nara period, initially as a custom of admiring the plum blossoms. Later, during the Heian period (794-1185), the flowers associated with hanami changed from plums to cherry blossoms.
Tokyo, the bustling metropolis of Japan, transforms into a picturesque wonderland during the sakura season. Every spring, usually from late March to early April, the city’s parks, streets and riverbanks are adorned with delicate pink and white petals.
Planning a trip to Tokyo for the cherry blossom season could be a little challenging. This is primarily due to the fact that the cherry flowers last only 2 weeks! That’s why I’ve put together this Tokyo cherry blossom guide, where you’ll find the exact sakura dates, the best spots for hanami and some useful tips.
Tokyo cherry blossom guide 2024
Visiting Tokyo during the cherry blossom season is a dream come true. Every spring, thousands of trees burst into bloom, turning the city into a wonderland of pink and white flowers. However, this magical display lasts only for 2 weeks, so you need to plan carefully the time of your visit.
Tokyo Cherry blossom forecast 2024
The official forecast is usually released in January. Keep in mind, that these dates are not final and they will be updated several times before reaching the peak of cherry blossom season. The forecast can change because of temperature fluctuations, rain, and wind, which could quicken or delay the blooming time.
The dates could be moved forward or back, depending on the weather conditions. It is possible for the full bloom to be reached even 10 days earlier than the original forecast (as it happened during my visit). During the last few years, the cherry blossom season in Japan started earlier than expected. Therefore, I suggest considering an arrival a few days prior to the officially projected full bloom.
Over the past years, the first blooms have appeared from March 18 to March 25. The full bloom usually reaches its peak between March 25 and April 4.
The cherry blossoms in Tokyo will bloom on March 14, 2023, according to data from the Japan Weather Association, February 28, 2023. I will update this information once the official JMC forecast for 2024 is released.
Tokyo cherry blossom dates 2024
Forecasted flowering date – 14 March 2023
Forecasted full bloom date – 21 March 2023
Average flowering date – 23 March
(please note that the official dates for 2024 are not yet announced)
How long do cherry blossoms last in Tokyo?
The cherry blossom season usually lasts about two weeks. The flowers reach their full bloom approximately one week after they begin to open. The full bloom itself lasts only a few days. After the full bloom date, the cherry flowers will stay for another 7 to 10 days (depending on the weather), before starting to fall.
Tips about Tokyo sakura season
Accommodation – the cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times to visit Tokyo. Hotels tend to fill up quickly, so book your accommodation months in advance.
My favourite place to stay in Tokyo (for sakura): JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Shinjuku
Why: perfect location, 3min walk from Shinjuku Station and plenty of restaurants
What I like: delicious Japanese and Western breakfast buffet, city views
Best time to enjoy the sakura – the cherry blossom season usually lasts for 2 weeks, so it’s best to arrive a few days before the predicted full bloom. After the latter, you’ll have about a week before the petals start to fall. Usually, the cherry blossom festivals start a few days before the peak bloom.
Note that the forecast could change even at the last moment and the full bloom could be earlier (or later) up to 10 days. In recent years, the peak bloom has occurred earlier than expected (the average flowering date is 23 March).
I scheduled my trip following the release of the official forecast, aiming to arrive three days prior to the peak bloom. However, the forecast changed so much, that in the end, I arrived 4 days after the peak. I was lucky as the cherry flowers were still gorgeous, but after a week they were almost completely gone.
Visiting Tokyo for the first time? Then have a look at my detailed 3-day Tokyo itinerary, which includes all must-see attractions and my top picks for ramen and sushi restaurants.
Map – find here a map of all popular cherry blossom viewing spots.
Best Tokyo sakura spots
There are numerous spots in Tokyo, where you can enjoy the beautiful cherry blossom viewing (hanami). In my guide, I’ll list the most popular and stunning cherry blossom viewing (hanami) locations across Tokyo.
Some of the places host cherry blossom festivals with special events and sakura-flavoured food and drinks. While other areas feature spectacular night illuminations of the cherry flowers.
Best cherry blossom in Tokyo 2024
- Chidorigafuchi Moat
- Ueno Park
- Meguro River
- Shinjuku Gyoen
- Yoyogi Park
- Sumida Park
- East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
- Yasukuni Shrine
- Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park
Chidorigafuchi Moat is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo. It is located along the west side of the ancient Edo Castle, now transformed into the Imperial Palace. Chidorigafuchi Moat is lined with more than 260 cherry trees, including Somei Yoshino and Oshima varieties. The trees create a 700m long (2,300 feet) footpath, known as sakura tunnel.
You can also rent a boat from the Chidori-ga-fuchi Boat Pier (from 9 AM to 8:30 PM) to see the beautiful trees from the water.
During the Chiyoda Sakura Festival, colourful LED lights illuminate the cherry blossoms in the evening, creating a truly magical atmosphere. You can enjoy an evening stroll and admire the illuminated sakura flowers.
Address: 2 Chome-1-5 Kudanminami, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0074, Japan
Closest station: Kudanshita metro station (Hanzomon, Shinjuku and Tozai lines)
Illumination: from sundown (around 6 PM) to 10 PM
One of Japan’s oldest parks, Ueno has been a popular sakura viewing spot since the Edo period (1603-1868). There are around 1,200 cherry trees, transplanted by monk Tenkai (who founded Toeizan Kan’ei-ji Temple) from Mount Yoshinoyama.
During the festival Ueno Sakura Matsuri, the trees are illuminated by hanging lanterns. Thousands of people visit Ueno Park to enjoy the traditional hanami picnics beneath the trees.
Address: Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007, Japan
Closest station: Ueno station (several metro and JR lines)
Illumination: from 5:30 PM to 8 PM
As spring arrives, Meguro River comes alive with hundreds of cherry trees that line its banks. Along its picturesque 3.8km (12.5 feet) stretch you’ll find approximately 830 Somei Yoshino cherry trees. There are several small bridges along the way, perfect for photo opportunities and spectacular views.
The cherry trees are lightened up in the evening by pink paper lanterns. Adjacent to the river, a cherry blossom festival with a lot of stalls selling food and drinks takes place.
Address: ︎Meguro River (between Meguro and Naka-Meguro stations)
Closest stations: Naka-Meguro (Hibiya and Tōyoko lines) and Meguro (Namboku, Mita and Meguro lines and JR Yamanote Line)
Illumination: from 5 PM to 8 PM
Shinjuku Gyoen is located in the heart of the bustling Shinjuku district. Once an imperial garden, the park now ranks among the city’s largest Japanese gardens.
Shinjuku Gyoen is home to approximately 1,100 cherry trees of about 70 varieties. The various types of trees ensure an extended period of floral blossoms, as they each bloom at different times. Thanks to this, you can enjoy blossoms here whether you arrive a week before or after the full bloom.
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
Closest stations: Sendagaya Station (Chūō-Sōbu Line) and Shinjuku-gyoemmae (Marunouchi Line)
Illumination: Naked Sakura Night Garden at Shinjuku Gyoen
One of the city’s biggest parks, Yoyogi is a popular spot for hanami parties, especially for large groups. There are around 500 cherry trees, mainly the Somei Yoshino variety, planted throughout the park.
Address: ︎2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0052, Japan
Closest stations: Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line), Meiji-jingumae (Chiyoda and Fukutoshin lines) and Yoyogi-kōen Station (Chiyoda Line)
Sumida Park is situated a short walk from the famous Sensō-ji Temple. Lining the Sumida River, this city park is home to more than 500 cherry trees, mostly of the Somei Yoshino variety. The trees were planted by Tokugawa Yoshimune in the 18th century, during the Edo period.
It’s a popular sakura spot, where you can admire the beautiful blossoms against the backdrop of the majestic Tokyo Skytree. During the spring festival Sumida Park Sakura Matsuri, the cherry trees are illuminated, creating a beautiful scene. You can also take a cruise and enjoy the cherry flowers from the water.
Address: 1 Chome Hanakawado, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0033, Japan
Closest station: Asakusa Station (Ginza, Asakusa and Tobu Skytree lines)
Illumination: from 6 PM to 9 PM
More Tokyo cherry blossom locations
For less crowded sakura spots, consider exploring the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park.
Other sakura locations worth mentioning are:
- Yaesu Sakura Street – located a 3min walk from Tokyo Station (Yaesu north exit), this historic street is lined with over 100 cherry trees
- Mohri Garden Roppongi Hills – a popular nighttime sakura spot, featuring several illuminated Somei Yoshino and weeping cherry trees against a background of skyscrapers
- Kanda River (near Waseda Station) – a more relaxed alternative to Meguro River. Don’t miss the view from Omokage Bridge and the night illumination
- Aoyama Cemetery – the city’s largest cemetery (the final resting palace of Hachikō), features almost 800 cherry trees lined along its central avenue
- Rikugien Garden – this 18th-century Japanese garden is home to a magnificent weeping cherry tree (15m high and 20m wide). The tree is particularly enchanting in the evenings when is illuminated
- Koganei Park – far from the city centre, but home to more than 1,700 cherry trees of over 50 varieties. Koganei Cherry Blossom Festival takes place here every year from late March to early April
- Showa Memorial Park – located on the outskirts of the city, the park features about 1,500 cherry trees, which usually bloom a few days later than those around central Tokyo
East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
For a more relaxing cherry blossom experience in a historic setting, visit the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. The park is one of the best-preserved Edo gardens in Japan! The East Gardens is home to around 280 cherry trees, including Somei Yoshino, Sato-zakura, Kanhi-zakura, as well as the early-blooming Kawazu-zakura.
Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
Closest stations: Otemachi metro station and Tokyo Station (numerous metro and JR lines)
Not far from the Chidorigafuchi Moat, you’ll find the Yasukuni Shrine. Built in 1869, the shrine
commemorates Japan’s fallen soldiers, making it a place of remembrance and reflection.
There are more than 500 cherry trees, mainly Somei Yoshino and Yamazakura, planted around the ground. Yasukuni Shrine is a serene place, where you can connect with Japanese culture, history, and nature.
Address: 3 Chome-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0073, Japan
Closest station: Kudanshita metro station (Hanzomon, Shinjuku and Tozai lines)
Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park
Tokyo Tower is one of the few places, where you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms from above. The nearby Shiba Park is home to more than 200 pink cherry trees, mostly from the Yamazakura and Sato-zakura varieties. The park also offers an amazing view of the tower, framed by pink cherry flowers.
Don’t miss the Zōjō-ji Temple, located in Shiba Park, home to more than 200 Somei Yoshino and weeping cherry trees.
Address: 4 Chome-10-17 Shibakoen, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Closest station: Shibakoen metro station (Mita Line)
Must buy tickets in advance
If you’re planning some sightseeing, there is one attraction, for which you should book tickets ahead of time.
Tokyo Skytree – with 4.3 million visitors per year this is the city’s most popular attraction, so make sure to reserve your ticket for Tokyo Skytree here.
Where to stay in Tokyo for cherry blossom
With numerous sakura spots throughout the city, selecting the ideal base location is challenging. Depending on where your hotel is, you may need between 20min and 40min (including changing metro lines) to get to the desired location.
My best advice is to stay near a big station, where several metro and JR lines pass, such as Shinjuku Station and Tokyo Station. If possible choose in advance which sakura spots you want to visit and check if there is direct access from the hotel you’re planning to book.
Having this in mind, for the best cherry blossom experience, consider staying near Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. The location is close to the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Yoyogi Park. Moreover, with direct metro and JR line access from Shinjuku Station, you can easily reach other cherry blossom spots across the city.
Find more information and recommendations in my guide to where to stay in Tokyo.
Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower – Best mid-range
Strategically positioned just a 2-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, Odakyu Hotel serves as an excellent base. The hotel’s Southern Tower Dining Restaurant features a lively open kitchen and spectacular panoramic views of the Greater Tokyo-Shinjuku Skyline.
Why book – 2min walk from Shinjuku Station, rooms with nighttime city views
BELLUSTAR – Best luxury
Located a brief walk from Shinjuku Station, BELLUSTAR offers spacious rooms with stunning city views. Three dining options await: Restaurant Bellustar (blends French cuisine with Japanese ingredients), Sushi JIN-E (offering authentic Edomae-sushi), and Teppan Ten-yu (serves the finest Wagyu beef).
Why book – 5min walk from Shinjuku Station, amazing city views, excellent Spa
What to do in Tokyo during sakura season
Cherry blossom night viewing
The cherry blossom night viewing (yozakura in Japanese) is another great opportunity to admire the beautiful flowers. Numerous well-known sakura spots are lit up at night in different colours, creating a magical atmosphere. Chidorigafuchi Moat, Ueno Park, Meguro River, Shinjuku Gyoen and Sumida Park are some of the most popular ones.
Try sakura-flavoured treats
During the cherry blossom season, the stores are stocked with sakura-themed or flavoured items. You can find sakura mochi, ice cream, tea or even drinks. The sakura-flavoured foods are infused with the delicate essence of cherry flowers and often incorporate cherry blossom petals. The taste is truly exceptional, so make sure you give them a try!
Faqs about Tokyo sakura season
The cherry blossom season in Tokyo typically occurs from late March to early April. However, the exact timing may shift up to a week each year due to factors such as weather conditions.
The sakura, or cherry blossom, season in Tokyo typically lasts for about two weeks. Typically, it takes about a week for the flowers to reach a peak bloom. After that, they stay for another week before starting to fall down.
You can enjoy cherry blossoms in numerous locations across the city. Chidorigafuchi Moat, Ueno Park, Meguro River, Shinjuku Gyoen and Sumida Park are among the most popular sakura spots.
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