Lisa Wallin

Cruise Under a Canopy of Sakura

Cherry blossom viewing at the mouth of Meguro River

Lisa Wallin
Lisa Wallin   - 4 min read

Cherry blossoms are a much-awaited part of spring in Japan and when the flowers come out, so do those who want to see them. Luckily, there’s a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the blossoms without having to deal with teeming crowds of people.

The over 800 trees line over half of the river's length
The over 800 trees line over half of the river's length

The most famous cherry blossom viewing spot

Meguro River is almost eight kilometers in length and has over 800 cherry blossom trees lining the waterfront. No wonder it’s such a popular spot! When spring hits the city, the area is a glorious display of muted shades of pink of white, and attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. It’s arguably the most famous spot for cherry blossom viewing in Japan.

The perfect cherry blossom viewing experience
The perfect cherry blossom viewing experience

The best way to enjoy the blossoms

There is, however, a way to beat the crowds while still making the most of the cherry blossom season. You can enjoy the view of white and pink blossoms hanging over you in serenity by taking a boat ride down the river. Tours cast off at Tennozu Isle in Shinagawa, close to where Meguro River flows into Tokyo Bay. By taking a boat, you’ll find yourself on the calm waters of Meguro River and can enjoy the view in peace and quiet. While daytime tours may be the first to come to mind, during the sakura festival season, Meguro River is lined with pink lanterns that light up the trees in the evening. Seeing the trees over the river at night is truly an enchanting experience.

A lucky Shinkansen shot
A lucky Shinkansen shot

But, not just cherry blossoms

Viewing the blossoms from a boat allows for a unique experience. Not only can you admire the trees without the crowds, you can also discover another side of Tokyo as you have time to sit down, relax, and really take in your surroundings. The boat ride takes you under dozens of bridges, each with its own history and distinctive design. If you’re especially lucky, you may catch a shinkansen zooming by on one of the train bridges. You can also see shrines, office buildings, and ordinary people’s houses between the trees as you slowly sail down the river. It’s easier to see the daily life of Tokyoites as you go by–give them a wave and most will happily wave back before going on with their day.

Beautiful waterfront park
Beautiful waterfront park

Before you go, or after your trip

Boat rides, even relaxing ones, are hungry business, so you may find yourself a bit peckish after the ride. Fear not, for Tennozu Isle, where the boat tours leave from, is home to one of Shinagawa’s best waterfront areas, with plenty of stylish restaurants and cafes in the area. There you can enjoy good food with stunning views of Meguro River from a different angle.

Boat tours depart from Tennozu Isle, and you can find more information on how to book a trip at Shinagawa Tourism Association.

Lisa Wallin

Lisa Wallin @lisa.wallin

Lisa grew up traversing the globe as she immersed herself in various cultures, driven by a deep-seated need to understand the world around her. Japan ultimately became her home with its lure of scrumptious cuisine and a surprisingly dynamic underground music scene. When not working as a writer an...