If you're one of the lucky ones to be in Japan in early spring to celebrate the cherry blossom, it definitely feels like a privilege. The mood is very festive. You can be part of the celebration just as easily, as there are places all over Japan where the locals come out to hold Ohanami.
As this is the ideal time to hold Ohanami in Japan, this article recommends 3 spots in Tokyo, where you can spend Ohanami. All the spots are only a 5 minute walk from a train station.
- Meguro River: this is a canal in the center of Tokyo where cherry blossom lines both sides of the canal. At its peak, the cherry blossom will form a canopy over the river. Here there are foot paths on both sides of the river with benches along the way for you to rest. At some points there are sakura tunnels over the footpath and bridges for you to cross the river and switch sides to walk. The ambient here is more peaceful, so you can peacefully stroll and sit under the sakura trees. At night, there is an illumination, so it is a spot you can visit day and night. (There are many ways to reach Meguro River as it is quite a long walk. I recommend starting from Meguro Station as it is a short walk to the river from the west exit of the station and you can reach this station either by Metro or JR trains. Please check the map at the exit to get your bearing.)
- Chidorigafuchi: The north-eastern moat of the Imperial Palace is another famous Ohanami spot in Tokyo. Here the canal is quite wide with green grass and trees to enhance the cherry blossom viewing to give it a more natural setting. The key highlight here is that you can rent a boat to row and get a private viewing of the cherry blossom from the water. Opposite Chidorigafuchi, there is a large Ohanami event at Yasukuni Shrine where there are benches alongside thousands of cherry blossom trees and various food stalls for you to buy food to celebrate. There is light illumination here as well. (The easiest way to reach this spot is to take the Metro to Kudan-Shita station and walk to exit 1 or 2, depending on whether you want to eat first or row the boat first. You can get here via Metro Tozai, Shinjuku, or Hanzomon line.)
- Ueno Park: This is the 'don't miss' spot for Ohanami in Tokyo. The mood here is very lively and there is a huge crowd almost all day long. All the areas under the cherry blossom trees are filled with blue plastic mats, where families and friends sit to talk, eat, drink, and look up at the cherry blossom all day and night. I recommend you go here earlier in the morning to get appreciate a more peaceful ambience and maybe visit Ueno Zoo before coming back in the afternoon when the place is filled with buzz. You may get a free viewing of traditional Japanese dance as well. (Ueno Park is opposite the street from Park Exit of Ueno station. You can reach here either by JR or Metro train.)
If you have a chance to visit Tokyo during the cherry blossom season, try Ohanami in these 3 different ways.