With soft pink blossoms carpeting the footpaths, flanking long rivers and providing a soft, delicate backdrop to cold towering skyscrapers, there’s arguably no more beautiful time to be in Tokyo than during cherry blossom season. However, the rest of the city tends to agree, which means if you want to see some of the most popular places, there’s a good chance you’ll be battling crowds and weaving through seas of amateur photographers. If you want to see trees without the crowds, check out these overlooked, but very beautiful parks in Tokyo.
Running through the heart of the neighbourhood, Zenpukuji River is a more low-key, but no less stunning alternative to the well-trodden area of Nakameguro. Strolling along the river, you’ll see ceilings of pink blossoms offering plenty of photographic fodder. Once you’re done admiring the blossoms, be sure to check out the water lilies, irises and hydrangeas that the park is famous for. The neighbourhood is a short trip westward from central Tokyo, making it an ideal little city escape.
Another cherry blossom haven located on the western side of Tokyo is Koganei Park, one of the city’s biggest parks in fact. It’s best explored by bicycle, which you can rent on site. Dotted with plenty of blossoms and home to large spacious lawns, it’s the perfect place to set up a full day photographing trees, picnicking and soaking up the warm springtime sun. If for some crazy reason you’ve grown tired of chilling under the blossoms, you can visit the park’s open-air branch of the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Tokyo University Komaba Campus
A little more unconventional than the other locations on this list, Tokyo University Komaba Campus is actually a hotbed of cherry trees, which cover the grounds in soft fragrant blossoms during late March and early April. Located in Meguro, you can stroll through the publicly accessible grounds to check out the famous flowers in a slightly different setting. The stunning historic architecture of the university provides a backdrop that people can’t help but marvel over.
Ikegami Honmonji Temple
If you like your cherry blossom viewing with a side of history, then head on over to Ikegami Honmonji Temple in Ota City. Situated far enough off Tokyo’s more well trodden streets to have a reputation for being a little secretive, the historic temple offers cherry blossom displays unlike anywhere else in the city. One of the site’s best features is the temple’s impressive stone statues, which are nearly brought to life by the vibrancy of the blossoming flowers.
One of the most underrated gardens in all of Tokyo is also one of the best secret blossom hangouts in the city. Hidden right smack bang in the center of the most tourist-populated part of town in Asakusa is Denpo-in Garden. Denpo-in Garden is a classic Japanese landscape garden that’s pretty spectacular all year round, but especially so in spring, which is the only time you can visit. This is actually the private garden of Sensoji Temple’s abbot, and it only opens once or twice a year, so if you’re around between March 13 and May 7, don’t miss it.
Yotsuya Sakura Park Walk
Yotsuya is a neighbourhood near Shinjuku that most visitors may not know about unless they saw the 2017 blockbuster anime Your Name. (Kimi No Na Wa.), where a number of the film’s scenes were set. Along the train lines that follow the path to and throughout Yotsuya Station, you’ll find an impressive collection of cherry blossoms lining the tracks and decorating the station area. Check it out if you find yourself in or around Shinjuku with a little extra time to kill.
A very unassuming station located in the Koto area of the city, Monzen-Nakacho Station’s reputation for being a cherry blossom wonderland is underrated. Pink flowers cover the area from the exit of the station to the neighboring riverside. It’s even more stunning in the evening when the sun sets and the lanterns along the river are illuminated.