Scenes from: Tokyo Sakura
“In the city fields
Strangers are like friends”
― Kobayashi Issa
Shinjuku Gyoen: The park is home to more than a thousand cherry trees of over a dozen different varieties (including early and late bloomers). Bring a picnic and enjoy a hanami (flower viewing) party on one of the park's sprawling lawns - just be aware that alcohol is prohibited.
Access: Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station, Shinjuku-sanchome Station or Sendagaya Station
Admission: 200 yen
Shibuya Backstreet: Unfortunately this particular street is unnamed (as are most in Tokyo), but it's an easy location to find. From Shibuya Station, take the JR South Exit and use the pedestrian overpass to cross Tamagawa Dori. You should see a display of pink lanterns marking the cherry blossoms at the foot of a winding, hilly road. It's a short street, but I love the surreal effect that the blossom canopy creates in this particularly chaotic cityscape. The Cerulean Tower Hotel at the top of the hill boasts a 40th-floor bar where you can grab a drink afterward.
Access: Shibuya Station
Yasukuni Shrine: The shrine grounds contain hundreds of cherry trees, including one used by the meteorological agency to declare the official opening of the blossoms in Tokyo.
Access: Kudanshita Station
Chidorigafuchi: The moat which marks the northwestern border of the Imperial Palace provides an opportunity to view cherry trees from the water. Boats are available for rent and the trees are lit up in the evening. Note that picnics are not allowed here.
Access: Kudanshita Station or Hanzomon Station
Meguro River: Almost 2.5 miles of the concrete canal is flanked by cherry trees. During the Nakameguro Sakura Festival the trees are illuminated at night and food and drink vendors are aplenty.
Access: Nakameguro Station or Meguro Station
Aoyama Cemetery: Hanami parties are forbidden here, but the cemetery's cherry tree-lined street makes for a beautiful stroll.
Access: Nogizaka Station or Gaiemmae station