Photo: SoraNews24

Cherry blossom parties allowed at Tokyo’s most popular sakura spots for first time since 2019

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Normally, there are two visual indicators that cherry blossom season has arrived in Japan. One, of course, is that sakura tree branches burst into beautiful bunches of pink flowers. The second is that underneath those branches you’ll see groups of people sitting on spread-out sheets having hanami, or cherry blossom-viewing, parties.

That second sign of spring has been largely absent from Tokyo for the past three years, however. With the pandemic hitting Japan in earnest shortly before sakura season started in 2020, the Tokyo municipal government, like many other cities, asked residents and visitors alike to refrain from having park hanami parties in the springs of 2020, 2021, and 2022. With coronavirus precautions continuing to be rolled back, though, the Tokyo government has decided that it will not be making that request for 2023, allowing the return of cherry blossom parties to some of the city’s most popular sakura spots.

Of particular note is the reallowance of hanami parties at Ueno, Yoyogi, and Inokashira Parks. The three parks all boast both an impressive number and large variety of sakura trees, and their ease of access by public transportation and proximity to nearby restaurant/bar districts make them attractive to groups who may want to keep their party going after they’ve already eaten and drunk everything they brought with them.

▼ Ueno Park during hanami season in 2019

Photo: SoraNews24

There are still some rules to be aware of if you’re planning a hanami excursion, though. Staking out a space with your sheet but then leaving it unattended for hours until your group arrives is prohibited, and parties must end by 8 p.m. at Ueno, 10 p.m. at Inokashira, and 5 p.m. at Yoyogi (all of which are rules that were in place prior to the pandemic as well). In addition, sit-down hanami parties at Ueno Park will only be allowed in the clearing to the east of the main cherry blossom-tree lined pathway known as Sakura-dori, not along the path itself.

Another popular Tokyo sakura destination, the Megurogawa River, will be bringing back its nighttime cherry blossom light-up event for the first time since 2019. Due to being held along the sakura tree-lined streets on either side of the river near Nakameguro Station, sit-down parties have never been allowed here, and visitors are asked to help keep the flow of foot traffic moving by not standing in place for prolonged periods of time, adhering to one-way walking, and refraining from speaking loudly and eating or drinking while walking, so as not to disturb nearby residents. The light-up event will take place from March 18 to April 9.

Sources: Abema Times via Livedoor NewsFNN Prime OnlineNHK

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- No Tokyo cherry blossom parties? Government asks citizens to refrain from outdoor hanami parties

-- Experience the cherry blossoms early this year with AR flower art and Morinaga foods

-- Sakura tacos? The Tokyo treat we didn’t know we needed until right now

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Good stuff. Platform pizza returns. Salarymen wearing their neck ties like headbands. Practicing their golf swing on any spare spot of space, flushed from booze. Clueless freshmen and women walking around in new black suits, campai’ing under the blossoms. Hordes of gaijin up at Yoyogi Koen. The trees white like a ghost procession. The evening still chilly. Overpriced drinks by meguro gawa in flute glasses. It is the season to be jolly. Hanami is good for the soul.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Welcome back to the rest of the world! March 13th can't come soon enough!

8 ( +14 / -6 )

I don’t live in Tokyo, but in my area there are many trees. A typical 8 minute drive to the supermarket takes at least 30 minutes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Congratulations, Glad to see everyone having fun and enjoying a normal life.

It's been tough on everyone, but it's almost over.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Never mind that the virus was extremely unlikely to spread in the open air.

Now we are ‘allowed’ to do something that was never a risk in the first place-what a joke!

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I am sitting this one out. I have already enjoyed plenty of hanami, especially last year. The quiet, peaceful, solo way of enjoying hanami.

I am worried about crowds. After three years of it being banned, there is now excess pent-up demand. All of Japan's well-behaved, several times vaccinated, Covid-compliant citizens will all collectively rush these public areas now that the government is finally giving them the permission to do so. Even though there was never any serious risk to begin with. Not to mention, there is the added congestion of the foreign tourists. Add lots of alcohol, and to me, it doesn't sound like a pleasant mix. Once again, I am finding the big, government sponsored "End-Of-Covid Party" to be rather superficial and disappointing. Not surprising that bad policies create bad results.

I will of course try to enjoy cherry blossoms where there aren't very many people; I don't want to be bothered or annoyed. Just want to snap a few pics and leave.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Of particular note is the reallowance of hanami parties at Ueno, Yoyogi, and Inokashira Parks

Another popular Tokyo sakura destination, the Megurogawa River

LOL having a hanami party surrounded by 1000s of people from all over Japan and the world, how relaxing!

The best "hanami" picnics I ever had were in totally random spots discovered while driving to somewhere else.

Places somewhat unaccessible for a big slice of the population (car only) + or in other places outside of central Tokyo/Osaka are the greatest. Just discovered "Gongendo" last year and cant wait to go again this year.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don’t live in Tokyo, but in my area there are many trees. A typical 8 minute drive to the supermarket takes at least 30 minutes.

thankfully I dont have to put up with that stress, 10minute drive, no traffic, to one of the local rivers, no less than 200 trees lining both sides of the river, plenty of places to park plenty of places to sit as it rarely ever crowded. the joys of country living

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

cherry blossoms,symbol of spring,new life,new hopes....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If you just want to see cherry blossoms then go for a drive in the mountains or by secluded rivers. The fun part about hanami parties in the park is the crowds. Lots of people together having a good time, laughing, outside in a pretty area. Going to these places and complaining about the amount of people is like going to the beach and complaining about getting sand in your shoes. I personally can't wait, I usually hate crowds but early spring with everyone drinking and in a good mood is just great.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Go Tokyo!!!..

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Indeed. And sitting on concrete too, with no space to stretch out and relax, so uncomfortable. The funny thing is you don't even have to leave Tokyo to find better places than this. Sure, there's not a whole lot of nature in this city, virtually none, but it is still possible to find much nicer spots for your cherry blossom picnic.

Never mind that the virus was extremely unlikely to spread in the open air.

Now we are ‘allowed’ to do something that was never a risk in the first place-what a joke!

OK, keep whining, while normal people be happy and enjoy life..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Make sure when partying outside that you wear your mask, everyone! Because "science"!

Just got back from SE Asia yesterday. Guess what ALL the Japanese tourists did once they left the stifling confines of a society where people for, let's be honest, cultural reasons, keep masked up in situations where there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to continue to do so? They...immediately abandoned their masks and blended in to the REALITY of the real world! Just like that! The society they were in said "You DON'T NEED the things"...and they listened!

But here? LOL. As soon as we got back, it became "necessary" to habitually wear a mask everywhere and anywhere (except when sitting in crowded cafes, bars or restaurants, it seems...this is "scientifically" sound reasoning, right, guys? Outside, dozens of meters away from anyone = masked. Inside a commercial establishment, eating, drinking, or surfing their "smart" phones for hours on end in a room filled with scores of complete strangers = unmasked. LOL. Okay)

So stupid. Like a Mexican Standoff this has become. "A: I'll remove mine, but you first! I don't want to be 'rude'" "Of course, I'll remove my mask, but you first! I don't want to be 'rude'!" (So the masks remain on forever!)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Always a good place to meet partners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Hito Bito,

I just got back from SE Asia too. The locals and westerners for the most part didn’t seem to be wearing masks.

The Japanese on the plane didn’t seem to remove their masks, either on the plane or after disembarking… I don’t know what they did after the airport. I didn’t travel with a Japanese group and my wife isn’t Japanese so I really don’t know. But from my flight, it seems the Japanese prefer to wear masks wherever they are in the world.

Anyway great about the Sakura! That’s got to be safer than Tokyo rush hour trains!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wonderful. Nature is never tired of smiling. It continues to bring joy to humankind and to all other beings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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