Springtime is arguably Japan’s most beautiful season, with the weeks between late March and early April marked by the blooming of Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. Sakura season, while a stunning time to be in Japan, also brings with it significant crowds, all desperate to enjoy the fleeting beauty of the pink-petaled flowers.
While Tokyo boasts many famous sakura sights, most of them become impossibly busy, especially on weekends during peak bloom. Ota Ward’s cherry blossoms spots sport equally lovely scenes with only half the crowds. Why not take a sakura-themed stroll through Ota in the spring? Follow the suggested itinerary below for a look at some of the area’s best sakura destinations.
Begin with a visit to Tamagawadai, a hillside park just steps from Tamagawa station. Walking paths climb the terraced levels of the forested space, providing views over the Tamagawa River below. The region’s trains can be seen through a haze of cherry blossoms in the spring; over 300 are planted on the grounds. History buffs will enjoy discovering the traces of ancient tombs that are scattered throughout the park.
- Tamagawadai Park is immediately outside the exit of Tamagawa Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line or the Tokyu Tamagawa Line.
- 1-63-1 Denenchofu, Ōta-ku Tokyo
Buy a bento (packed lunch) from the shopping arcade near Shimo-maruko station and take it with you to Tamagawa Gas Bashi Ryokuchi Koen. Nearly 120 cherry trees line the wide banks of this section of the Tamagawa River, making this the perfect place to picnic on a sunny day. The flat path that runs along the river is perfect for cycling or walking, and many families find the grassy banks to be ideal for giving kids room to run.
- Tamagawa Gas Bashi Ryokuchi Koen is a fifteen-minute walk (follow signs for the Canon Building) from Shimo-maruko station on the Tokyu Tamagawa Line.
- 3/4-chome Shimomaruko, Ōta-ku Tokyo
A short ride away from Shimo-maruko Station, the temple complex of Ikegami Honmon-ji bursts into bloom in the early spring. The grounds are home to around 400 sakura, which line the staircases, surround the main hall and cover the quiet grounds of the cemetery. One of the most photogenic sites is the temple’s historic five-story pagoda, nearly obscured by the delicate blossoms.
- Honmon-ji is a ten-minute walk from either Ikegami Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line or Nishi-Magome Station on the Toei Asakusa Line.
- 1-1-1,Ikegami, Ōta-ku Tokyo
Wrap up your cherry blossoms adventures just up the train line at Senzoku Pond, where 300 cherry trees ring the body of water for which the park is named. Large spaces along the pond’s perimeter make for perfect picnic grounds, while visitors can also rent paddleboats to view the blossoms from out on the water. In cherry blossom season, numerous food vendors set up along the edges of the park.
- Senzoku Pond is a two-minute walk from Senzoku-ike Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line or a ten-minute walk from Kita-Senzoku Station on the Tokyu Oimachi Line.
- 1-14-5, Minami-Senzoku, Ōta-ku Tokyo