It's prime blossom viewing time this week as many of Tokyo's cherry trees have reached full bloom today. And with cooler temperatures over the last couple days and mild weather predicted for the rest of the week, the blossoms will likely be at their peak condition here through the weekend.
In other parts of the country, Andrew reported yesterday in Kyoto that the former capital's blossoms are progressing slowly but surely and will likely be at full bloom by the end of the week (around the same time as Osaka). Further south, Raina reported the sakura nearing full bloom in Hiroshima yesterday as much of southern Japan is now reaching its best viewing period.
Back in Tokyo, today I visited some of the city's best blossom spots to get the latest conditions.
My first stop today was at Asukayama Park in northern Tokyo, just outside the gates of Oji Station (a few stops north of Ueno Station on the Keihin-Tohoku Line). This handsome city park is one of Tokyo's oldest hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots, and today offers lots of great areas under the blossoms to picnic and relax.
Today I found the sakura (cherry blossoms) were at full bloom here and looking beautiful. The blossoms here will likely stay at their best through the end of the week, and possibly into the weekend.
Nighttime illuminations are also happening now in the park every night while the blossoms are out until 21:00.
After exploring Asukayama, I took the Keihin-Tohoku Line south a few stops and headed next to perennial sakura all-star spot Ueno Park. The large park and its abundance of Somei Yoshino cherry trees make it a hugely popular place to picnic under the blossoms. Just be sure to stake out a place to lay out your tarp early—it's not uncommon for motivated hanami-goers to claim a spot hours before using it!
Today most of the Ueno Park's Somei Yoshino blossoms were also at full bloom and look to remain lovely through the weekend.
Many of the blossoms here are also illuminated at night from 17:00 to 20:00 until April 7.
My next stop for the day was to Koishikawa Korakuen, one of Tokyo's oldest traditional Japanese gardens. While the garden's peaceful atmosphere and classic viewpoints are nice in any season, the addition of a few dozen cherry trees in bloom add a nice seasonal touch in spring.
The blossoms here today were delightfully at full bloom. Like many other spots in Tokyo, I expect they will remain at their best viewing through the end of the week and likely into the weekend.
My final stop for today was at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, one of the city's largest parks and most popular places to view cherry blossoms. Thanks to its wide array of sakura species, including early and later-blooming types, the garden also boasts a relatively longer best viewing period than many other places in Tokyo.
Today most of the park's classic Somei Yoshino cherry trees were at or very near full bloom, in addition to a few other varities. Happily, the varities in bloom this week are spread throughout the grounds with plenty of space to enjoy them.
The blossoms here will very likely remain at their best viewing through the weekend, and, thanks to the park's many late-blooming varieties, probably into next week as well.