• Jianwen Chen (CJ)

5 Underrated Sakura Spots in Tokyo

So you just got off the train at Nakameguro station to see the famous sakura promenade but you have a problem. You cannot get out of the station because it is jammed packed with hordes of tourists!


At times like this, you wonder to yourself "why do I feel like a sheep following the herd?". Fret not! I have 5 underrated cherry blossom spots that are less crowded and equally or even more spectacular than the overrated ones at Nakameguro and Yoyogi Park.


1. Asukayama Park


Thank me later for this.


This park is one of those parks that travel writers write about but never visited it themselves. I mean, the cherry blossoms there are SPECTACULAR! Why travel guides don't hype it up more really beats me.


Asukayama Park is historically one of the best sakura viewing spots since the Edo period. This park has over 600 cherry trees that will let your wildest sakura selfie dreams come true!


If I were you, this is the first place I would visit to get my sakura fix!

Entrance Fee: Free!

Hours: 24 hours

Best Viewing Time: Late March to Early April


2. Kanda River


I am always surprised that there is a river that has just as or even more spectacular than the sakura on the overly touristy Meguro river. It is the terribly underrated Kanda river!


If I were you, I would scoodoodle down to Waseda Station (Tokyo Metro) and walk towards Hotel Chinzan-so. The Kanda river is lined by gorgeous sakura trees as far as your eye can see.


You will probably get lost in the beauty of these trees and end up somewhere down the Kanda River.


By the way, as a double bonus for going to Kanda River you can also get to see the perfectly manicured Japanese garden at Hotel Chinzan-so. Yes, the hotel also has some sakura trees and they are open to the public too!


Entrance Fee: Free!

Hours: 24 hours (Except Hotel Chinzan-so)

Best Viewing Time: Late March to Early April


3. Aoyama Cemetery


What? Are you kidding me? A cemetery?


Believe it or not, in Japan, the sakura is used to symbolise the dead too. These flowers blossom beautifully but briefly because they fall after a couple of weeks - representing the brevity of life.


Cemetery sakura somehow also blooms especially beautifully. Maybe due to the extra 'nutrients' they get from the soil. But kid you not, do check out the blossoms at the Aoyama Cemetery.


Oh and a fun fact, the famous Hachiko dog's grave is within the Aoyama Cemetery grounds!

Afraid of ghosts? Go in the day!


Entrance Fee: Free!

Hours: 24 hours (Go in the day time)

Best Viewing Time: Late March to Early April


4. Hamarikyu Gardens


Skip Yoyogi park if you want to skip the crowds. Visit the Hamarikyu Gardens instead! This Japanese garden used to be owned by a feudal lord and it was also place for duck hunting!


And the sakura here is oh so lovely.


Once you enter the park, you will be pleasantly surprised by this oasis of calm right next to the forest of skyscrapers. What a contrast between traditional Japan and the ultra modern skyscrapers!


Unlike the other places mentioned in this article, the sakura trees here are strategically placed within the park so you can enjoy the other varieties of flowers as you walk through the park. It is a garden after-all!

Entrance Fee: 300 yen

Hours: 09:00-17:00

Best Viewing Time: Late March to Early April



5. Yanaka Cemetery


Yes! Another cemetery! As I said before, sakura is a symbol of the glorious dead. What better place to find majestic sakura trees than next to the dead?


The Yanaka cemetery is the largest and most important cemetery in Tokyo. The last of the Tokugawa shoguns are interred there. And as expected, you will also find rows and rows of beautiful sakura trees lining the wide avenues in the cemetery.

Bonus tip: Get off the train at Nippori station and walk to Yanaka Ginza - a traditional shopping street that retains the nostalgic charm of postwar Japan.


Entrance Fee: Free!

Hours: 24 hours (Go in the day time)

Best Viewing Time: Late March to Early April

Note that if you are not friends with Casper, I would recommend you go in the day!


Conclusion


There we have it, the 5 underrated but equally spectacular sakura spots of Tokyo!

  1. Asukayama Park: Get off at OJI station, served by the JR Keihin Tohoku Line, Metro Namboku Line and Tokyo Sakura Tram

  2. Kanda River: Get off at WASEDA Metro Station

  3. Aoyama Cemetery: Get off at Gaienmae Metro Ginza Line or Nogizaka Metro Chiyoda Line

  4. Hamarikyu Gardens: Get off at JR Shinbashi Station

  5. Yanaka Cemetery: Get off at JR Nippori Station

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or email me at cjwen31@icloud.com


Till next time


CJ

Everyday Life Photographer

Photography Coach


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