Now that the sakura blossom period for Tokyo has officially begun, it’s time to start making plans.

Allow me, a Dutch Tokyoite that has been based here for 10 years, to be your guide to 4 of Tokyo’s most enthralling ohanami (flower viewing) spots!

Jindaiji

深大寺と桜
Sakura in front of the Jindaiji temple

The Jindaiji temple will always have a special place in my heart, as I used to live nearby in my first few years in Tokyo. You can reach the temple by bus from Chofu Station, a typical Tokyo suburb on the Keio Line.

Near the temple, you will find many handmade Soba restaurants, a specialty of the area since the Edo Period.

jindaijisoba2
Delicious soba in an authentic atmosphere

The lined up trees that form a sakura tunnel along the leafy Jindaiji-dori Avenue escort you right to the temple. After your flower viewing, be sure to soak in the Yumori no sato hot spring, a short walking distance away.

jindaijidori
Just looking at this picture gives me a youthful feeling!

Spot Information
5-15-1, Jindaijimotomachi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo
Access: Get off at Chofu station of the Keio-line and take bus 13 or 14.
Blossom Period: From late March to beginning of April

URL: http://www.csa.gr.jp/ (Japanese only)

 Sotobori Park

hosei
Sakura in front of my university. The good old days!

The Sotobori (outer moat) Park is more of a river than a park, and goes on along the JR Chuo Line for more than 2 kilometers from Yotsuya Station, passing my university in Ichigaya and going on all the way to Iidabashi Station. Walking along this river with myriads of blossoming petals wearing the first suit of my life, and then 4 years later again with the same suit, but with a bachelor diploma in my hands – marked the beginning and end of an important part of my life.

sotobori
Sakura in a small park along the Sotobori (outer moat), near Ichigaya Station

Spot Information
Fujimi 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Access: Get off at Yotsuya Station, Ichigaya Station or Iidabashi Station JR Yamanote Line
Blossom period: From late March to beginning of April
URL: http://www.kanko-chiyoda.jp/tabid/2877/Default.aspx

Inokashira Park

inokashira1
akara surrounding the central pond of Inokashira Park

On a short walking distance from Kichijoji Station, is Inokashira Park, my favorite spot in Tokyo to just hang out and relax. Rowing on a swan boat in the central pond surrounded by sakura trees is simply better than paradise.

Later in the day, the park’s grounds turn blue due to the plastic groundsheets that groups of visitors bring to sit on to enjoy the evening under these magnificent blossoms.

The park is also home to a picturesque shrine, and even a zoo.

inokashira2
If you want to impress your girlfriend, this is the place to take her!

Spot Information
1-18-31, Gotenyama, Musashino-shi, Tokyo
Access: A 5-min walk from Kichijoji Station Keio Inokashira Line/ JR Chuo Line or a 1-min walk from Inokashira Koen Station Keio Inokashira Line
Blossom Period: From late March to beginning of April
URL: http://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/musashino/spot/40890.html

 Meguro River

megurogawa
Sakura in full bloom along the Meguro River

Few ohanami spots can match the scale of Megurogawa’s sakura, which goes on for 4 kilometers along this river in the centre of Tokyo. I remember coming here once after the peak of the blossom period when most of the leaves were already floating in the air. That made it look all the more romantic as the river was coated in beautiful petals that had fallen on the surface.

duck
I wish I was that duck!

Spot Information
Meguro river, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Access: A 2minute walk from Naka-Meguro station Hibiya line, a 5minute walk from JR Meguro Station, within a short distance from Ikejiri-Ohashi station Tokyu Denentoshi line.
Blossom period: From late March to beginning of April
URL: http://www.city.meguro.tokyo.jp/multi/index.html (Click “English” for an English translation)

Thank you for reading this sakura entry. If you are planning on visiting Tokyo during this year’s blossom period, be sure to check out some of these spots and create your own memories!

Photo credits: Chofu City Keizai Shimbun, Hosei University, JNTO

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