By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Cherry blossoms are the most celebrated flowers of spring in Japan. Weather forecasts now include information for when the cherry blossoms will start to flower and reach full bloom. This forecast is for the Somei Yoshino variety of cherry trees. In Tokyo, they are expected to start opening their flowers around March 15 and reach full bloom around March 23.
Check the cherry blossom forecast for the areas you are going to visit. Here are a few Japanese words that will make it easier to read the cherry blossom news: Sakura – cherry blossoms, Hanami – cherry blossom viewing, Kaika – starting to flower, Mankai – flowers in full bloom.
Hanami parties are a traditional celebration. But the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is asking people to refrain from gathering for large hanami parties this year, due to the spread of the coronavirus. Please note that some venues and attractions have also canceled and postponed events.
Even without joining a large party, you can enjoy the sakura flowers. Look around you. Beautiful trees and flowers can be found even in the smallest places. And besides Somei Yoshino, there are many kinds of cherry trees with different kinds of flowers. They are all great for taking pictures.
Tokyo has many places that are famous for cherry blossoms. Sumida Park along Sumida River in Asakusa, Ueno Park, and Yanaka Cemetery are all good places for taking a walk under the cherry trees and taking pictures.
For local advice and travel tips, I recommend you visit the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center or the YANESEN Tourist Information Center in Yanaka. In Ueno you can use the Tokyo Tourist Information Center at the Keisei Ueno Station or the Ueno Tourist Information inside the Matsuzakaya department store (B1F Matsuzakaya, PARCO_ya Ueno side).