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CHERRY BLOSSOMS in Tokyo 2014 - A Brief Guide to Hanami Culture & Etiquette

Post: Friday February 28, 2014   Author : plazahomes

Spring is coming and if you live in Japan, you know that means that Hanami is coming. According to this year's Hanami forecast from the Japan Weather Association (translated here by the Japan Guide), the best time for Hanami viewing this year in Tokyo will be Mar 31 - April 9 so plan accordingly.


Hanami, which literally means, "flower viewing" in Japanese, is a time honored tradition where people gather at scenic locations and admire the cherry blossoms. It's also a great reason to get out of the office and enjoy some yummy food and drinks with your coworkers or friends. Below are a few suggestions for planning the perfect Hanami outing:

 

花見

 

 

Finding your spot

The most important part of Hanami is the flowers so you have to select your general location based on that.  We’ve detailed some great Hanami spots around Tokyo in the article below.  Once you pick your location, you have to actually get a spot.  Prime Hanami spots go quickly so you’ll have to arrive first thing in the morning and stake yours out if you want a chance at the most excellent views of flower petals.  The traditional way to claim your spot is to lay out a blue tarp, which you can acquire from many convenience stores (conbini) or else a home supply store.  Generally speaking, once you’ve put it out, it will remain undisturbed until you arrive for your Hanami gathering later that day.

 

2006 Hanami at Gyoen 花見3 

 

 

Hanami etiquette

While Hanami parties can be quite lively and fun, there are some rules to follow that will make everything go well.

 

1)   BYOB (Bring your own beer).  Hanami parties are best when everyone brings beverages and food.   Whether

     you like beer, wine, sake, green tea or even mugi-cha, it’s always best to bring your own and some to share. 

     Also, for food, many people bring bento box meals and party foods like Hanami dango.  All of these can be

     purchased at the conbini and also in the food courts in the basements of most department stores.

 

花見 弁当 団子

 

2)   Take your own trash.  Hanami draws out huge crowds of people, far more than are out at parks and

     recreational areas under normal circumstances, and the trash cans are generally not sufficient to support

     all the rubbish generated by huge Hanami parties.  So, bring some trash bags and make sure to carry all

     your trash off with you and leave the park as pretty as when you arrived.

 

 

3)  Take your shoes off (when on the blue tarp).  The blue tarps that people set out to mark off their party

     spaces should be treated like being indoors.  In other words, you should take your shoes off if you

     need to step on a tarp. 

 

 

4)  Have fun!  While Hanami started off as a time for samurai and emperors to sit and placidly contemplate

     the beauty of nature while listening to haiku praising the sakura (cherry blossoms) that were composed by

     the court poet, Hanami today is a time for celebrating spring, the start of a new school year, welcoming new

     recruits to firms, and just generally having a good time.

 

 

We hope these pointers will help make your next Hanami party a really fun time.  These rules are really more guidelines than anything but keeping them in mind will definitely make the experience enjoyable for all. 

Now go watch some flowers!

 

Hanami from above

 

 

 

Below is a list of some of Tokyo's most popular cherry blossom spots.

 

 Aoyama REIEN (AOYAMA CEMETARY)


 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 2-32-2 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  10 min-walk from Gaienmae Station (Ginza Line), or Nogizaka

                        Station (Chiyoda Line)
 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  Over 400, mainly Somei-yoshino Total area 26 hectares.

 There is an antique market in Nogi Jinja (Nogi Shrine) which is about 10-minute

 walk from Nogizaka station. It is held on second Sundays every month exept

 November.

 Ark Hills

 cherry blossom in tokyo 


 Address : Ark Hills,  Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there : 1 minute walk from Exit 13 of Tameike-Sanno Station (Namboku

                       Line or Ginza Line)

                       1-minute walk from Roppongi 1-chome Station (Namboku Line)
 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  150 Somei Yoshino trees

 Behind Suntory Hall at Ark Hills and all along the Spanish Embassy’s wall, 150

 Somei Yoshino trees from a 700 meter-long archway of blossoms. 

 While the Cherries are full bloom they are lit up from sunset until 10pm.

 A cherry blossom  festival is also held at Ark Hills Karajan.

 CHIDORI-GA-FUCHI MINAKAMI PARK

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 2-3, Kudan-Minami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  5-minute walk from Kudanshita Station (Hanzo-mon, To-zai, or Toei

                       Shinjuku Lines)
 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  About 300, mainly Somei-yoshino

 Chidori-ga-fuchi is one of the moats of a former Edo Castle and one of the more

 famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo.
 Enjoy a boat ride along the moat, surrounded by cherry trees that are lit up in the

 evening. Yasukuni Shrine is nearby and you can enjoy cherry blossoms there are

 well.  If you walk a little further, you will be able to get to Higashi-Gyoen (the East

 Gardens of the Imperial Palace).  A Sakura Festival is held every year.

 SHIBAKOEN / ZOJO-JI TEMPLE

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 4-7-35, Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  3-minute walk from Onarimon Station (Toei Mita Line),

                       5-minute walk from Daimon Station (Toei Asakusa Line or Oedo Line)
 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  About 100

 A nice place to visit with the temple as a backdrop to the beautiful cherry trees in

 bloom.

 HAMA RIKYU ONSHI-TEIEN

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 1-1, Hama Rikyu Teien, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  5-minute walk from Shiodome Station (Toei Oedo Line),

                       7-minute walk from Tsukiji-Shijo Station (Toei Oedo Line)

                       12-minute walk from Shimbashi Station (JR Yamanote/Ginza/Toei-

                       Asakusa Line)
 Open Hours :  9:00 – 17:00 (Last admission 16:30)
 Entrance Fee : JPY300.-

 This beautiful Japanese Garden is kept by charging entrance fee to keep the crowds
 down.

 YASUKUNI SHRINE

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 3-1-1, Kudan-kita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  3-minute walk from Kudanshita Station (Hanzo- mon Line, To-zai

                        Line, and Shinjuku Lines)
 Open Hours :  6:00 – 19:00 (-18:00 in Winter season)
 Trees :  About 600

 This shrine is famous for the three cherry trees which are the standard by which the

 Meteorological Agency announces the official timing of cherry blossoms blooming

 in Tokyo.  There is a Sakura Matsuri at the beginning of April. About 300,000 people

 attend and there are a lot of street stalls. Also check out the many cherry blossoms

 that line the nearby Imperial Palace moat.

 YOYOGI PARK

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 2-1, Yoyogi-Kamisono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  3-minute walk from Yoyogikoen Station (Odakyu Line)

                        5-minute walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line)
 Open Hours :  5:00 – 17:00 every day
 Trees :  About 100

 Sakurano-sono (cherry blossom garden) is beautiful. It is located between the South

 gate and the Shibuya gate. There is a lot of space to wander around.

 A flea market is held every month.

 SHINJUKU GYOEN

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 11, Naito-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  5-minute walk from Shinjuku Gyoen Station (Marunouchi Line),

                       or  Sendagaya Station (JR Line)  
 Open Hours :  9:00 – 16:30 (last admission 16:00)
 Entrance Fee : JPY300.-
 Trees :  75 types and more than 1,500 trees, including the yaezakura (double-

            blossoming cherry tree)

 This garden near the shopping district of Shinjuku has many types of cherry and

 plum trees.

 UENO PARK

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address : 5-20, Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
 Getting there :  2-3 minutes walk from Ueno Station (JR, Hibiya, or Ginza Lines)
 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  About 1,200

 This park not only has 1,200 cherry trees, but also features historical, art museum,

 shrine, pond, and zoo.
 In Sakura season, many people have parties in the evening, so it’s recommended

 that you go in daytime if you prefer a quiet atmosphere. Sakura Matsuri (Cherry

 Blossom Festival) is held in April every year.

 SUMIDA PARK

 cherry blossom in tokyo


 Address :  Sumida Park, on the banks of the Sumida River near Asakusa
 Getting there :  2-minute walk from Asakusa Station (Ginza Line or Asakusa Line)
 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  More than 1,000

 This is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo. The park has

 about a 1-kilometer row of trees along the Sumida river on the side of Taito-ku.

 There is also a park across the river in Sumida-ku where there is a Sakura Matsuri in

 April and a monthly antique market.

 INOKASHIRA PARK

 cherryblossom


 Address :  1, Goten-yama, Musashino City, Tokyo
 Getting there :  5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station South Exit (JR Chuo Line,

                       Sobu Line, or Keio Line) 

 Open Hours :  All day Everyday
 Trees :  About 630

 
 Many cherry trees are around the Inokashira pond and there is a boat ride available

 on the pond. Three different boats are available with different prices.
 Be prepared for a long 
wait in cherry blossoms season.

 

This entry was posted in Living Information, Tokyo Events, Place to Go / Travel, Japanese Culture

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