Every spring, Tokyo’s different regions celebrate the season with their own sakura festivals. Add these events to your calendar to make the most of the city’s cherry blossom season.
Sure to become an annual event, the Nihonbashi area has started welcoming spring with their own Sakura Festival featuring themed illumination and tree lightings. These are best enjoyed in the evening and run from late March to mid-April. For one weekend only, local businesses set up stalls on the cobbled walk between the Coredo department stores and sell festival fare, often with a cherry blossom twist.
The Meuguro River is one of the most picturesque spots in Tokyo to take in the cherry blossoms. Every year, Naka-Meguro throws their annual sakura festival. At night, the cherry trees are lit and lanterns line the river railing while festival stalls sell everything from hanami dango (mochi balls) and takoyaki (savoury ball shaped snacks) to imported wine and beer. Dates vary but it generally begins mid-March and runs until mid-April.
During the Bokutei Sakura Festival, Sumida Ward sets up lanterns and their cherry blossoms are illuminated in the evenings. Since the flowers cover such a large area, the organizer always set up a long list of carefully timed and organized events, such as Sakura Bridge displays and festival stalls.
Ueno’s Sakura Festival has been going on for over fifty years. In addition to the usual festival lanterns and tree lightings, the park plans outdoor markets, live performances and other events to keep visitors entertained. Depending on the sakura’s bloom, the main events of the festival begin on weekends at the end of March and into early April.
With the famous Sakura-zaka Park nearby, Roppongi Hills spring sakura festival is one of the mall’s most popular annual events. On weekends during the festival, food stalls organized by the mall’s restaurants and bakeries are set up around the Arena (a large, outdoor entertainment space), music plays and a lively atmosphere takes over.
Tokyo Midtown‘s sakura festival called Midtown Blossom attracts visitors with a wide variety of flower themed activities. Their outdoor patio, surrounded by sakura, delights patrons with a new spring menu and beautiful art installations are a given. Additional activities, such as sakura tree planting and performances, change every year to keep things fresh.
This modest festival takes place each year in Amazake Yokocho (Sweet Sake Alley) in Chuo Ward. The street is famous for its shitamachi or old town feel. In spring, the sakura lining the street burst into bloom and the shops set up vendors and events for their Cherry Blossom Festival.