After a warm, sunny week at full bloom last week, cherry blossom spots across western Japan and as far north as Tokyo were nearing the end of their best viewing periods on Monday. Blossom watchers in these spots can expect falling petals this week as the mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry trees come to a finish, likely by the end of the week.
For those who find themselves a little late to the party in these areas, many spots in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto also feature late-blooming varities of sakura that may still be at full bloom later into the coming weekend and early next week.
Meanwhile, the cherry blossom "front" is now moving north with cities in the Tohoku Region like Sendai and Fukushima reporting their blossoms now opening (and likely to reach full bloom later this week).
Ueno Park: Past Peak
My first stop today was at Ueno Park. While just four days earlier the park was in full bloom, today I the blossoms were dropping petals rapidly and were well past full bloom. At this quick pace, I expect the season to be finished here by the end of the week.
While the blossoms may not have been at full bloom, that didn't stop visitors from enjoying the sight of falling petals and picnicking under the trees today. Some even consider this timing one of the best times to enjoy the blossoms.
Shinjuku Gyoen: Full Bloom
My second destination for today was Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. This extremely popular Tokyo sakura spot features not only a large variety of cherry trees, but also many other types of seasonal flowering plants and trees.
Today, while the park's hearty collection of iconic Somei Yoshino sakura trees were also past their peak and dropping petals, flowers at or near full bloom, including many late-blooming sakura varieties, were abundant around the park.
While the Somei Yoshino trees will likely only have petals for a few more days, the late-blooming trees may still keep the park flowering at least through the end of the week.
Showa Kinen Koen: Petals Starting To Fall
My last stop for the day was outside the city center to Showa Kinen Park, about an hour train ride west on the JR Chuo Line. Showa Kinen is a sprawling park with an impressive array of cherry trees scattered around its grounds, mainly concentrated in the northeast corner of its central open field.
Today the blossoms here were absolutely beautiful and still rather full, having only just past full bloom and just starting to lose their petals. Happily, the park tends to bloom slightly later than the rest fo the city, making it a good place to enjoy the sakura even after Tokyo's more central spots have past their peak.
Showa Kinen Park is also featuring an illumination of some of its cherry blossoms at night while the trees are in bloom between 17:00 and 20:00. Visitors should enter the park via the Tachikawa Gate during the illumination.