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Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com
- 2015 Cherry Blossom Forecast
- Schedule of upcoming reports

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2015/03/30 - Tokyo Report
by scott

Rowboats ply the moat around Chidorigafuchi

After a slightly early start to this year's season, the cherry blossoms around much of Japan have been racing towards full bloom with city after city reaching their peak yesterday and today, no doubt helped along by the warm, beautiful weather that much of the country has been recently experiencing. Tokyo and Fukuoka were the first to reach full bloom yesterday, only to be joined by Kochi and Hiroshima today (at the time of writing).

Now most people are probably looking anxiously towards Tokyo's early start and wondering how it's going to affect their plans, so today I went down to check out the state of some of the city's more popular cherry blossom viewing spots so you can get a better idea of the timing for this season.

Ueno Park
March 30, 2015 - full bloom

The cherry blossoms around Ueno Park have really sped along since Raina visited last week and have reached full bloom around the park. This year it looks like the blossoms are all reaching their peak in unison, making for what I think may be one of the best seasons that I've seen around Ueno Park in recent history. In addition, the forecast calls for warm, sunny weather over the next few days which will really enhance the atmosphere around the park. The only downside is that the warmth will speed up the lifecycle of the blossoms, which tend to be slightly ahead of city average anyway, with the potential of cutting the best viewing season short of our forecast.

Ueno Park was incredibly crowded this morning
Full bloom around Ueno Park
Not a lot of cherry blossom viewing parties going on yet, but to be fair it was still quite early in the morning
The cherry blossoms around Shinobazu Pond are just slightly behind those around the rest of the park

Yasukuni Shrine
March 30, 2015 - full bloom

Yasukuni Shrine is the site of Tokyo's representative cherry tree, which is used to determine the state of the cherry blossoms for the entire city. The tree is located inside the main shrine area among several dozen other cherry trees, and is a popular attraction for those visiting the shrine. Today the representative tree has reached the beginnings of full bloom, but sits about a day or two behind the trees around Ueno Park (which tend to be slightly fast). I would put the blossoms around the shrine grounds right on schedule with our forecast, although they will also probably be sped up a little by the warm weather.

In addition, during the cherry blossoms season the outer parts of Yasukuni Shrine are turned into a lively entertainment area with dozens of food stands selling all kinds of street food. It's a great place to grab a bite to eat, and rows of tables are set up under the cherry trees for visitors to use.

The blossoms around Yasukuni are also at full bloom
Close up of Tokyo's representative tree
The blossoms over the food stalls are also at full bloom, but still too early in the morning for partiers
The main shrine area was pretty packed

Chidorigafuchi
March 30, 2015 - full bloom

Just south of Yasukuni Shrine lies Chidorigafuchi, which is the name of the northwestern moat surrounding the Tokyo Imperial Palace. One of Tokyo's most popular cherry blossom spots, the moat is lined by about 1000 trees along its banks, which visitors can enjoy strolling under. It is also incredibly popular to rent a rowboat to see the trees from the surface of the moat (open 9:30 to 20:00, 800 yen/30 minutes, may be closed during high winds). In addition, the trees are lit up in the evenings for the enjoyment of visitors (18:00-22:00, through April 5, 2015). Like the trees around Yasukuni Shrine, the cherries around the moat are at the beginning stages of full bloom and should remain at their peak for several more days, with the possibility to fall short of our forecast.

Chidorigafuchi at its best
The blossoms along the moat have also reached full bloom
It looks quite crowded but the traffic flows pretty smoothly

On a side note, the Indian Embassy lies right at the entrance to Chidorigafuchi and is hosting a sakura festival of its own over the next few days. Lots of Indian food, crafts, and cultural event for those interested.

Indian food stalls behind the embassy.
Mmmm, Indian curry.

Shinjuku Gyoen
March 30, 2015 - full bloom

My final stop for today was a revisit to Shinjuku Gyoen, which is another of Tokyo's best cherry blossom spots. Shinjuku Gyoen is typically behind the pace of the rest of Tokyo and not surprisingly seemed slightly behind the rest of the spots that I visited today. While most of its Somei Yoshino have reached full bloom since Raina's visit, the popular rows of trees that line the lawns near the Shinjuku Gate were slightly behind and seemed to only be just reaching full bloom today. These, if any, may hold through the weekend.

Shinjuku Gyoen was as crowded on a weekday as I've ever seen it
Somei Yoshino blossoms at full bloom in front of Oshima Sakura blossoms at full bloom
Giant Somei Yoshino trees around the Sendagaya Gate
The cherry trees that line the lawns near the Shinjuku Gate were slightly behind the others around the park
Beautiful full bloom trees around the ponds

As always, those coming into the season late should definitely visit Shinjuku Gyoen as there are lots of late blooming cherry tree varieties planted around the grounds. Most of these come into bloom after the Somei Yoshino trees start to fade and are well worth checking out.

Later blooming Ichiyo trees still have yet to open
These Ichiyo trees still have a little ways to go before their blossoms open

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List of Posts:
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Report
2015/04/16 - Fujigoko Report
2015/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2015/04/13 - Takizakura Report
2015/04/10 - Himeji Report
2015/04/10 - Takada Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/09 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Report
2015/04/08 - Matsumoto Report
2015/04/07 - Yoshino Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/05 - Okayama Report
2015/04/04 - Hiroshima Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/03 - Nagoya Report
2015/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Report
2015/04/01 - Kumagaya Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Report
2015/03/30 - Tokyo Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Report