Although Tokyo’s cherry trees may not be ready to flower yet, people are waiting with bated breath for the beginning of the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. Seasonal sweets, such as sakura-mochi and cherry blossom talk, such as likely spots to hold this year’s viewing party, are making the rounds.
The current forecasts predict the first trees will blossom on March 21 – which doesn’t leave much time to think about where to find the best spot to do some hanami of your own. If you can’t make it to the park, then try finding some cherry-blossom bliss just by walking down the street. Below, we list a few particular streets to consider – streets that have been called sakura-dori (cherry tree street). Although, these streets have all been labelled with the same name, each of them is unique in its own right; rather than simply choosing one, you might like to visit several.
Whether taking a leisurely stroll, or jumping in a car and letting the petals float down from the trees before landing gently on the windscreen as you drive along, whichever way you choose to appreciate these unique cherry-tree lined streets, when their flowers are in full bloom, they are a sight to be seen indeed.
Ginza Sakura-dori (Ginza, Chuo)
A 250m long street running from Ginza 1 Chome intersection to Ginza INZ, Ginza Sakura-dori is home to fifty cherry trees that exhibit pink-tinted yaezakura blossoms. Considering how close it is to the crowded shopping districts, this particular street is still relatively unknown – making it somewhat of a hidden cherry-blossom viewing spot.
Transport: Ginza-itchome Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
Nihonbashi Sakura-dori (Nihonbashi, Chuo)
Approximately 1km in length, Nihonbashi Sakura-dori runs from Tokyo Station Yaesu Kitaguchi to Kayabacho station. The original cherry trees were planted in 1936; however, the original trees were lost as a result of damage during the war. Cherry trees were planted here again in 1956, after which, the street became known as Sakura-dori. Passing under the full-bloom of the 169 cherry trees that currently line this small road might give you the feeling that you are momentarily travelling through an altogether different world.
Transport: JR Tokyo Station Yaesu Kitaguchi (north exit)
Edo Sakura-dori (Nihonbashi, Chuo)
Before it was lined with cherry trees and consequently re-named Edo Sakura-dori, this particular cherry tree street used to be called Surugaya-dori. Trees here were re-planted as recently as 2005, so they are still relatively small. However, located between the Mitsui Honkan (a building that is a national ‘asset of cultural importance’) and the Mitsukoshi Nihombashi department store building, the chance they afford to compare their beauty with that of these two unique western-style buildings is nonetheless endearing.
Transport: Mitsukoshimae Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line)
Tateishi Sakura-dori (Tateishi, Katsushika)
The 130 someiyoshino variety cherry trees lining this particular sakura-dori, which passes by the eastern side of Katsushika ward office, intertwine at their treetops to form an enclosure that, come cherry blossom season, blooms into a beautiful cherry tree blossom archway. This unique street, which is equally impressive by night, further springs to life in the first half of April when, during full bloom, the annual Katsushika Sakura Festival takes place.
Transport: Tateishi Station (Keisei Line)
Kunitachi Sakura-dori (Kunitachi)
This cherry blossom lined street is well-known as sakura viewing spot as well as Daigaku-dori (University Street). The 195 cherry blossom trees planted along this road, which stretches for approximately 2km due south from Kunitachi Station, bloom into life to offer a chance to travel down a tunnel of cherry blossoms.
Transport: Yagawa Station/Yaho Station (JR Nanbu Line)
Fuchu Sakura-dori (Fuchu)
A street approximately 1km long, Fuchu Sakura-dori, which first opened in 1956, is lined by 180 cherry trees. The trees form a delicate canopy across the road. Many of the trees here are over 60 years old and, having grown too mature, have started creating problems such as cracks in the road surface and roots appearing where they shouldn’t. However, regardless of the mischief caused by these trees, the local citizens love them nonetheless and, come full bloom, together with a host of cherry-blossom sightseers, come out to enjoy the tree’s blossoms and have a good time with the crowds.
Transport: Five minutes walk from Fuchu Station (Keio Line)
・Top ten cherry blossom sweets
Taste the sweet beauty of Japan in Tokyo
・Sakura-mochi now blooming
Delectable bite-sized treats to bring in the spring
・Meguro’s café spots
Take a walk and discover the 10 most stylish cafés in Naka-Meguro
Translated by Brin Wilson