Spring has come! Every Japanese, no, everyone who lives in Japan is waiting every year for the moment when the cherry blossoms (“sakura”) begin to open and start to bloom. Going to parks and gardens to look at the cherry blossoms is called “hanami”. There are many ways to do a “hanami”. In this article, I would like to introduce various types of “hanami” and the spots I would recommend for doing so.
1) Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens
This park is just one walking minute from JR Hamamatsucho station. It is a traditional Japanese garden with a huge pond in the middle and the typical atmosphere of a Japanese garden. In the spring, when the cherry blossoms bloom, you can make a picnic in the garden. If you do not have a picnic blanket, you can just sit on the benches under the cherry trees.
The entrance fee is 150 yen, but for this small amount of money, you’ll get a Japanese garden that is not as crowded as all other parks in Tokyo during“hanami“ season. Perfect for relaxing under the cherry trees!
Address: 1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
2) Zojoji Temple
I have already introduced the charming Zojoji Temple in a previous article. On the extensive temple grounds, you’ll find a large number of cherry trees. You can make cool photos of cherry trees with a Japanese temple AND the Tokyo Tower in the background! For the best Hanami photo, you should definitely come here!
There are booths selling snacks, so you do not have to worry about getting hungry – which is a great plus, too. ^^
Address: 4-7-35 Shiba koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
3) Shiba Park
Shiba Koen (“Shiba Park”) is a large park area between Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower. It is nice to go there for a cherry-blossom walk, but what I would recommend is to meet the groups of locals having huge picnics under the cherry blossoms in the park.
During hanami season, the usually a little shy Japanese suddenly start to invite strangers on their blankets for a drink. If you get invited, have a drink with them and try their homemade snacks!
Address: Shiba koen 4-10-17, Minato-ku, Tokyo
4) Atago Shrine
Atago Shrine is a beautiful shrine located on the top of a mountain at an altitude of 26 meters. It is possible to go up by taxi, but it is believed that if you go up the stairs by yourself, you will succeed at your job or get a promotion.
Also, the view of the beautiful cherry blossoms at Atago Shrine after climbing all that stairs are exceptional.^ ^ Since you “work luck” will rise, this is a cherry blossom spot with two flies with one stone!
Address: Atago 1-5-3, Minato – ku, Tokyo
5) Tokyo Midtown
Speaking of Tokyo’s most fashionable areas, you will think about the Ginza – and actually “Tokyo Midtown” in Roppongi. There is an alley of cherry trees right behind the back of Tokyo Midtown…so dreamy and beautiful! At night, the cherry trees are lighted up and the petals start to glow.
Because in Germany we don’t light up flowers, I was surprised when I first saw that for the first time. (How about your countries??) Anyway, it’s a perfect spot for a romantic cherry blossom “hanami” date!
Address: Akasaka 9-7-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo
How did you like the hanami spots?
If you go there RIGHT NOW, you’ll still get the chance to see the last cherry blossoms. So, hurry up!!
By the way, if you wonder about the translation of the traditional Japanese song featured in the video…here it is!
“Sakura” (Japanese folksong) – by kerrymarsh
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the spring sky,
As far as the eye can see.
Is it mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the air.
Come now, come now,
Let’s go and see them!