Tokyo’s Top Family-Friendly Hanami Spots

With the weather finally warming up, it's time for one of the most popular pastimes of spring in Japan: hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. While hanami often involves the consumption of alcohol and is a popular corporate outing in the spring, it is also a great way for families to spend time in the outdoors, while letting the kids blow off some steam.

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One of our favorite family-friendly hanami spots is Shinjuku Gyoen. There are more than 60 varieties of cherry blossoms trees within the park vicinity. With the big open space and an alcohol ban, there are plenty of great picnic spots for your family.

If your family enjoys a stroll rather than sitting in one spot, then a walk along Meguro River is a must. With 800 trees spread along the river over 3 areas, near Ikejiri-Ohashi Station, in between  Nakameguro and Daikayama, and the Meguro Station area, there are plenty of blossoms in view for everyone to enjoy. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the trees will be lit up every evening for those who would like to view the beautiful blossoms under the stars.

If boating is your thing and you’d like to combine it with a family picnic, Inokashira Park in Kichijoji would be perfect for you. With over 250 cherry blossom trees surrounding the pond, along with swan boats available for hire, Inokashira Park makes for a great family day out.

On the other side of Tokyo, Suimida Park in Taito Ward, another type of hanami experience on the water is available: a floating restaurant (yakatabune). You and your family can enjoy the spectacular view of more than 600 cherry blossom trees blooming at the same time along the Sumida River, with Tokyo Skytree in the background and somebody else doing all the hard work.

Hanami and hanabi (fireworks) at the same time? Why not? At Toneri Park in the Adachi Ward, the annual Spring Fireworks with 1,000 Blossom Trees Festival will be held on the weekend of April 5 and 6, with the fireworks on the Saturday evening. This is a great combination of two of the favorite pastimes of a Japanese spring and summer.

Most of the cherry blossoms will only be blooming for about two weeks, so if you and your family wish to extend this lovely activity, a hike at Mount Takao will be perfect for you. Blooming time is usually about two weeks after the full bloom of cherry blossoms in the Tokyo metropolitan area. With over 250 varieties of sakura trees, it’s one of the favorite nature hikes for families around Tokyo.

Wherever you decide to hold your hanami festivities this year, we hope you will enjoy the lovely warm weather with your family in and around Tokyo while viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms around town.

By Anna K.

Photo by Dick Johnson.