©Photo by iStock: TAGSTOCK1

Cherry Blossom Season in Japan 2024: Your Hanami Handbook

Insider Tips for a Memorable and Magical Cherry Blossom Viewing

It’s time to make your cherry blossom dreams come true and craft your ideal sakura adventure.

Embracing the tradition of sakura (cherry blossoms) in spring is a delightful experience, especially in Japan, where hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is a cherished tradition. Whether you’re enjoying a picnic in the park or admiring the blossoms from above, hanami is an unforgettable experience that celebrates the beauty of spring and Japanese culture.

Here is Savvy Tokyo’s guide to savoring spring by learning how to embrace the tradition of sakura, exploring ways to celebrate, and, of course, unlocking Tokyo’s top hanami spots.

The History of Hanami

History of Hanami© Photo by Toyohara Chikanobu

Hanami, meaning “flower viewing,” is a traditional Japanese custom dating back to the Nara Period (710-794). Initially practiced by the aristocracy, it evolved into a widespread social event during the Edo Period (1603-1868). During the medieval period in Japan (1185-1868) samurai embraced hanami as a reflection on life’s transience and the beauty of sacrifice. Today, it remains a cherished tradition, with millions gathering each spring to enjoy cherry blossoms. Hanami festivals are held in various cities, and families, friends and coworkers gather for picnics and parties beneath the blooming cherry trees.

Overall, hanami is not just about appreciating the beauty of flowers; it’s also a time for reflection, renewal and enjoying the company of loved ones amidst the fleeting beauty of nature.

Check out this article for more on the history of hanami.

What You’ll Need

© Photo by iStock: masa44
Hanami dango

When it comes to celebrations, food is always at the forefront of our minds! Traditional and modern hanami food offers a delightful array of flavors to accompany the festive atmosphere of cherry blossom viewing.

Traditional hanami foods include:

  • Sakura Mochi
  • Hanami Dango (skewered rice dumplings served in three colors: white, pink and green, symbolizing the colors of cherry blossom)
  • Tempura
  • Sake
  • Onigiri (rice balls)

For more modern hanami food options:

And don’t forget about essential “extra” items you could take with you:

Sakura 2024 Tumblr Collection by Starbucks© Photo by Starbucks

Sakura 2024 Tumblr Collection by Starbucks | ¥2,200~ 

Three-tiered Sakura Bento Box by Backyard Family: Cherry Blossom Season in Japan 2024: Hanami Handbook© Photo by Backyard Family

Three-tiered Sakura Bento Box by Backyard Family | ¥3,575 

Sakura Pattern Sun Umbrella by Fairy House© Photo by Fairy House

Sakura Pattern Sun Umbrella by Fairy House | ¥3,152

Piatto Gingham Check Picnic Sheet by Tokyu Hands© Photo by Tokyu Hands

Piatto Gingham Check Picnic Sheet by Tokyu Hands | ¥1,320

Sakura Shiba Inu A4 Tote Bag by Backyard Family© Photo by Backyard Family

Sakura Shiba Inu A4 Tote Bag by Backyard Family | ¥1,783

Cherry Blossom Strawberry Tea by Loft© Photo by Loft

Cherry Blossom Strawberry Tea by Loft | ¥411

As well as these 100 yen shop must-haves for cherry blossom viewing basics.

Where to Go 

Spring Music and Art Festivals with Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo© Photo by iStock: Akarawut Lohacharoenvanich

Of course, one of the most common ways to celebrate hanami is by enjoying a picnic under the cherry blossoms. Head to Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen or Ueno Park, as these are popular spots for hanami picnics. Another common way to celebrate is by attending cherry blossom festivals. Check out these spring music and art festivals with cherry blossoms in Tokyo for 2024.

For more recommendations on where to enjoy hanami, visit: All You Need to Know About Japanese Cherry Blossoms and Tokyo’s Top Family-Friendly Hanami Spots.

Unique Ways to Celebrate

Chidorigafuchi park in Tokyo during sakura cherry blossom full bloom season in Tokyo Japan. © Photo by iStock: Torjrtrx

Here are some unique ways to celebrate cherry blossom season.

Nighttime Illuminations

Experience the magical beauty of cherry blossoms at night with illuminated sakura trees. Certain parks like Rikugien and Chidorigafuchi offer special nighttime illuminations during the sakura season that will take your breath away.

Photography Strolls

Whether you’re an avid photographer or not, another enjoyable way to appreciate the sakura season is by capturing the beauty of cherry blossoms with a photography stroll through the streets of Tokyo.

Visit Historical Sites

Explore Tokyo’s historical sites and temples if you’re not keen on picnics or parks. Places like Asakusa Senso-ji Temple and Yasukuni Shrine are not only significant cultural landmarks but also stunning hanami spots during springtime, adorned with cherry blossoms.

Boat Rides

Enjoy a romantic boat ride along the Chidorigafuchi Moat near the Imperial Palace or the Meguro River, both excellent choices for boat rides during the hanami season. It’s not only romantic but also highly enjoyable.

Cherry Blossom Views from Above

Head to Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree or Roppongi Hills Mori Tower for a bird’s eye view of Tokyo’s cherry blossoms. These locations offer fantastic views of the cityscape adorned with sakura.

Will you be celebrating cherry blossom season in Japan with hanami? Or are you tempted to try out any of our unique experience recommendations? Let us know in the comments section!

Submit your best sakura shots to Savvy Tokyo’s Sakura Reel Contest 2024 for a chance to be featured on Savvy Tokyo, our official Instagram and win a fabulous prize worth ¥10,000!

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