What to do in Tokyo during Cherry Blossom Season
FOUNDER JISA OH GIVES HER TOP TIPS ON CELEBRATING THIS ANNUAL JAPANESE EVENT
Cherry blossom season has officially arrived in Tokyo, transforming the city into a magical wonderland as thousands of blooms sprout all around. These pink petals — also known as sakuras — can typically be viewed from late March to early April as part of Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Places like the beloved Ueno Park can see upward of two million people across the world descend on their grounds to view some of the 1,000-plus cherry trees. After nightfall, hanami parties (flower viewing parties) continue the festivities, with lanterns illuminating the blossoms.
According to the Japan Weather Association, the 2023 cherry blossom season in Tokyo is forecasted to begin on March 22, with the flowers taking anywhere from 7-10 days to reach full bloom. With all the various activities slated to occur over the city in the coming weeks, we turned to Wellness East founder Jisa Oh to get her top three tips on how best to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival this year.
Pack a Picnic
Many people attend picnics with family or friends during the festival season, bringing along their favorite food and drinks to enjoy alongside conversations set against the beautiful cherry blossoms. This is also the first time in four years that Tokyo parks are allowing hanami picnics, as the local government has eased Covid-19 restrictions while also taking basic measures to prevent spreading.
Eat Some Treats
Many restaurants, cafes, and pastry chefs craft signature cherry blossom desserts to pay homage to this most celebrated season. Just looking at these beautiful creations are a feast for the eyes themselves, but of course savoring these sweets is a must. The sakura sweets at Palace Hotel Tokyo include a pound cake made from their original sake and salted cherry blossom leaves, and the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo has afternoon tea that features sweet and savory goodies colored in pink.
Take a Stroll
Here in Japan, we can enjoy the cherry blossoms for only 7-10 days per year. So, people love to go on walks during this period to bask in the blooms as much as possible. Locally, there are a few spots to enjoy the beautiful flowers during your stroll like Ueno Park, along with seeing the weeping cherry trees at Rikugien Gardens and the Meguro River in Nakameguro, the latter of which returns with a sakura festival for the first time since 2019.