Traditionally, Asakusa is one of the best places for cherry blossom viewing (hanami) in Japan. Although I wrote an article about Sumida River Cherry Blossom Festival some years ago, I’d like to write another, which has more beautiful photos and practical visitor information. Enjoy!
Asakusa is definitely the most popular destination to visit in Tokyo. Talking from the basics, the icon is Sensoji Temple, which you remember with the big red lantern. And there is a river in a 2 minutes walking distance – That’s Sumida River.
The beauty of Sumida River is very famous throughout Japan because of the folk song that is on music textbooks. Translating some phrases, it says, “Sumida River on a warm spring day … The views are incomparable.”
You will stroll along the river lined with fully blooming cherry blossoms. What’s more, a great addition came to the incomparable view in 2012; it is Tokyo Skytree.
Strolling in the riverside park, ferries and a ferry stop will possibly attract your attention.
In Tokyo, ferries are for sightseeing, not for daily transportation. The first thing to learn is that they connect Asakusa and Odaiba district. Also, some stop at Hamarikyu Garden and Ryogoku district. If these destinations are on your trip schedule, it’s a great idea to catch a ferry at Sumida River. I must warn you that the ferries get crowded in the cherry blossom season, but the views from them are incomparable.
Hundreds of years ago, Sumida River was a wide river near the bay helping sellers in Tokyo. When samurais were walking in the streets, sellers shipped and received many things there. Today the river shows us “open” views, comparing with other cherry blossom spots.
I once said that Ueno Park is the BEST cherry blossoms spot in Japan, but when Sumida River comes to me, I cannot help rethinking. I really agree with the folk song; the views are incomparable.
Cherry trees are in iconic Sensoji Temple as well.
What I want you to know is that 8 April is a festival day in Buddhist temples. (NOT SHRINES! I explained the differences here.) It is Buddha’s Birthday called Hana Matsuri in a casual way and Kambutsue in the official way. In some years, cherry blossoms are still at the peak on 8 April.
The pagoda was recently renovated. After you saw cherry blossoms with new Skytree, you’ll see them with a traditional pagoda. That’s something interesting happening in Tokyo.
In the cherry blossom season, some shops in Nakamise Street offer snacks of sakura flavor.
They are NOT normal things colored into pink, but really tastes cherry blossoms and leaves. I’d like to advise you to have some of them.
I recently heard from an Osaka local that “Which cherry blossom spots will you go this spring?” is a very Tokyo-like question. She says that going on a sakura-viewing picnic is very new to her. In her hometown, cherry blossoms are something to see in local nameless streets. Considering it, it is fantastic that we wonder where to view cherry blossoms.
I repeat that I agree with the song singing, “The views are incomparable.” If traveling in Tokyo, you’ll be so happy to stroll along Sumida River on a warm spring day!
Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo
- Ueno Park – MY RECOMMENDATION
- Rikugien Garden – A large Japanese garden originated from a samurai’s mansion. The huge weeping cherry tree is very famous there. You can have a cup of matcha as well.
- Koishikawa Korakuen Garden – A beautiful Japanese garden in mid Tokyo.
- Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden – I think it’s a hidden gem. You can see Tokyo Tower with cherry blossoms.
- Yoyogi Park – Located in Harajuku, the coolest district in Japan. The atmosphere is for picnicking.
- Shinjuku Gyoen Garden – The largest park in Tokyo. If you feel you are a little earlier or later, just visit here.
- Meguro River – A new cherry blossom spot in Tokyo.
Asakusa Helpful Links
- All-in-One, The Quickest Asakusa Travel Guide
- Omikuji: Written Oracles at Sensoji Temple – I advise you to try it with one coin.
- Monja-yaki Restaurant – It’s a soul food of Tokyo, especially in Asakusa district.
- The Most UNIQUE Restaurant in Asakusa – Maybe the most unique in Tokyo, in Japan, or in the world.
- Cruising: Another Option of Transportation in Tokyo – You can go between Asakusa and Odaiba district by ferry in Sumida River.
- Bandai Headquarters – If you are visiting Japan for pop culture such as animes, learn this NOW.
(Sumida River Fireworks Festival is held in the same place in July. It has traditions of hundreds of years as well.)
Visitor Information of Sumida River Cherry Blossom Festival
Admission Fees: COMPLETELY FREE
Opening Hours: Anytime (Keep good manners at night.)
How to Get to Asakusa
Although Asakusa is not counted as a major station like Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shibuya, it is a convenient place for travelers to stay in because of Ginza Subway Line connecting all the important places in Tokyo City. Also, if you are planning to go on a trip to Nikko, the trains start from Asakusa.