1. Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most well-known parks. More than a thousand sakura trees from different varieties are planted here. The different varieties available also means that the trees bloom at different times, so visiting month here can be stretched out longer ?
The spacious lawn area is perfect to spread out your picnic mat and enjoy hanami with friends and family.
Getting tired from strolling around? Have a quick stop at a traditional Japanese tea house before continuing to the greenhouse which houses thousands of plant life from around the world (yup it's all within this awesome park!).
Opening Hours: 9:00am to 4:30pm (entry until 4:00pm) Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3. There are no closing days during the cherry blossom season (late March to late April) and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition (first half of November). Entrance Fees: ¥200
2. Koganei Koen
Located on the west side of Tokyo, this park is one of the prime locations during spring season as thousands of blossoming cherry trees offers the perfect spot for sightseeing.During peak hours, there will be many vendors selling local delicacies and perhaps if you're lucky you could even catch some entertaining street performances! Opening Hours: 9.30m to 5.30pm (April to September) Getting There: Musashi-Koganei Station (Chuo line), north exit then any bus from bus stop 2 or 3; get off at Koganei Koen Nishiguchi. Entrance Fees: Free admission
3. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is located just next to Ueno Station (all local trains on the JR Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku lines stop here) so not stopping here during spring is a no-no! This park is famous among locals and outsiders for the outdoor hanami parties, and is one of the most crowded places to park yourselves at!
Attractions around the area include the Ueno Zoo (Japan's first zoological garden), art galleries, museums and Ameyoko Shopping Street.
Opening Hours: 5:00am to 11:00pm
Getting There: The park is located just next to the JR Ueno Station. There's a "Park Exit" from the station
Entrance Fees: Free admission
4. Showa Memorial Park
Showa Memorial Park (or Showa Kinen Koen) is one of Tokyo's largest public parks. You can enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms here while cycling along the 14km course around the park, using bicycles that are available for hire.
Stomach rumbling and the nearest halal restaurant not within your radar? No worries! Pack your own goodies and put on your MasterChef hat! There’s an outdoor barbecue area on the park! Yeay!Opening Hours: 9:30am to 5:00pm (until 6:00pm on weekends and national holidays) Entrance Fee: Adult - ¥410 | Child- ¥80 Getting There: You can take the JR Chuo line train to Tachikawa Station from Shinjuku. The Akebono Gate of the park is only a 10 minutes walk away from the station. If you're on the JR Ohme line, get off at Nishi Tachikawa Station which is about 2 minutes from the Nishitachikawa Gate.
5. Mount Takao (Takaosan)
What better way to appreciate the scenery than seeing it from a higher altitude? Takaosan is located on the south-eastern part of the mountainous Kanto region, about 50 km from the centre of Tokyo. The hike up the trail will feel like a breeze as you enjoy the view of the gorgeous blossoming cherry trees.
There’s also a monkey park! The park's glass walled enclosure is home to about 40 Japanese macaques that put on shows at various times throughout the day.
The beauty of Takaosan will not disappoint - you’ll definitely have an amazing time. This mountain was awarded the maximum of three stars for its exquisiteness by the 2007 edition of Michelin's Voyager Pratique Japon, the famous French travel guidebook!
Getting There: The JR Chuo Line connects Shinjuku to Takao Station (JPY 550, for about 40 minutes), where you need to transfer to the Keio Line and take the train to Takaosanguchi Station (JPY 130 for a 3 minutes ride). Opening Hours and Entrance Fees: Cablecar Opening Hours: 8:00am to around 5:45pm (longer hours on weekends and holidays), with departures every 15 minutes Entrance Fees: ¥480 (one way), ¥930 (round trip) Chair Lift Opening Hours: 9:00am to 4:30pm (until 4:00pm from the months of December to April). Do note that admission ends 30 minutes before closing time. Entrance Fees: ¥480 (one way),¥930 (round trip) Monkey Park Opening Hours: 9:30am to 4:00pm (December to February), 10:00am to 4:30pm (March and April) and 9:30am to 4:30pm (May to November) Entrance Fees: ¥420
6. Meguro River
Nakameguro is one of Tokyo’s hippest districts, where you will be surrounded by trendy stores and hipster cafes. So why not go for a stroll along the Meguro canal after a sip or two of coffee at nearby restaurants in the area?
Cherry blossom trees are planted all along the Megurogawa (stretching out for about 4km). During the hanami season, the trees are lit up from April 1-10 each year. I don’t have to tell you this but the scenery is simply stunning!
Getting There: You can take the Tokyu line from Shibuya or the Hibiya line on the subway to get to Nakameguro. Alternatively you can also take the JR Yamanote line to Ebisu station. The walk to Nakameguro is around 15 minutes from Ebisu. Entrance Fees: Free admission
#HHWT Tip: For a different experience, try joining a night time cruise (you can even rent your own boat if your group is big enough!) down the Meguro River.