Travel Japan

Christmas Markets in Tokyo 2020

Japan has some odd ways to celebrate Christmas. 

Christmas in Japan is a couple’s day, it’s not a day off, and it’s common to celebrate by eating KFC. 

Yes. Not just any fried chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

However, one (normal) tradition that has made it’s way to the Far East is Christmas Markets!

This 600 year old German tradition is celebrated in various parts of Japan and some of the best ones are right here in Tokyo!

So in this article, we’ll be introducing some of the best Christmas Markets you can find in Tokyo in 2020!

Warning: because of coronavirus, some places may restrict entrance or even cancel to event itself so do further research before you go!

Roppongi hills

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The Roppongi Hills Christmas Market will be celebrating its 14th Christmas in 2020. This event is sponsored by Volkswagen, a German car company, so you know that this Christmas market is legitimate!

This event features a total of 7 shops, 3 for authentic German cuisines and 4 for German Christmas goods. Also, the Keyakizaka Street illuminations are close-by, so you can enjoy incredible illuminations on the way to the market. 

It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!


Date & Time: 11/28/2020 – 12/25/2020 11:00 – 21:00

Access: Roppongi Hills O-Yane Plaza 

Admission: Free


Yokohama red brick warehouse

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We visited the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Markets last year and it was nothing short of amazing. There were about 20 small vendors, set up in front of the brick houses to form an alley. 

At the end of the alley is a 10m tall Christmas tree shining brighter than any Christmas tree in Japan. 

Perfect spot for any date.


Date & Time: Dec 4th 2020 – Dec 25th 2020 11:00 – 21:00

Access: Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse #2

Admission: Free


Tokyo christmas market

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The Tokyo Christmas Market opens again this year in 2 locations: Hibiya Park and Shinjuku Odakyu Park. This Christmas Market is easily recognizable by the Christmas Pyramid standing tall in the middle. 


Date & Time: Dec 10 – Dec 25 11:00 – 22:00

Access: Hibiya Park

Admission: Free


Tokyo tower


— TOKYO TOWER 縁日テラス クリスマスマーケット (@ennichi_xmas) November 12, 2020

Celebrate Christmas right under the iconic Tokyo Tower at the Ennichi Terrace Christmas Market! This Christmas Market is set up right at the base of Tokyo Tower and you can enjoy both Japanese and foreign foods!


Date & Time: Oct 30 – Jan 11 

Weekdays 16:00 – 21:30 / Weekends & Holidays 11:00 – 21:30

Access: Tokyo Tower 1st Floor Entrance

Admission: Free



Unfortunately, some Christmas Markets, such as the Ebisu Garden Place Marche de Noël, are not being held this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, it’s also great to see that coronavirus countermeasures, such as requiring a mask and taking temperatures, are taken at the ones that are taking places this year. 

Whichever one you decide to go to, you’re bound to have a great Christmas time! Let’s be safe and have a Merry Merry Christmas!

Which Christmas Market will you be attending this year?

Travel Japan

Illuminations in Tokyo

As winter begins, the days are becoming shorter in Japan. While this means that your daytime is limited, it’s finally the season for Christmas decorations!

One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Japan is to watch illuminations, and this is especially true in Tokyo. Different parts of the city light up with incredible light decorations, competing to attract the crowds. 

If you’ll be enjoying Christmas in Tokyo this year, here is a list of different places to check out the winter Christmas illuminations in 2020!

Warning: because of coronavirus, some places may restrict entrance or even cancel to event itself so do further research before you go!

Illuminations in Tokyo



Date & Time: Nov 5 – Feb 4 15:00 – 23:00 (24:00 in December)

Access: Marunouchi Naka Dori, Around Tokyo Station, Otemachi Naka Dori

Admission: Free


Tokyo midtown

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Date & Time: 11/19/2020 – 2/28/2021

Access: Tokyo Midtown (Roppongi) 

Admission: Free


Ebisu garden place

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Date & Time: 11/14/2020 – 1/11/2021 11:00 – 24:00

Access: Ebisu Garden Place Plaza

Admission: Free



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Date & Time: 12/1/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 22:00

Access: Harajuku Station to Omotesando Station

Admission: Free


Tokyu plaza rooftop

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Date & Time: 11/17/2020 – 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Tokyu Plaza 6th Floor

Admission: Free


Tokyo dome city

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Date & Time: 11/13/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 24:00

Access: Tokyo Dome City

Admission: Free


Keyakizaka street illumination

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Date & Time: 11/13/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Roppongi Keyakizaka Street

Admission: Free


Yomiuri land

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Date & Time: 10/22/2020 – 4/4/2021 16:00 – 20:30

Access: Yomiuri Land

Admission: 1,500 yen for adults


tokyo city keiba

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Date & Time: 11/7/2020 – 1/11/2021 16:30 – 21:30

Access: Tokyo City Keiba

Admission: 1000 yen


tokyo midtown hibiya “Magic time illumination”

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Date & Time: 11/17/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Admission: Free


Meguro river (online only)

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Shibuya ao no dokutsu(Cancelled)

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Honorable mention

Tokyo has some amazing Christmas illuminations, but there are places in other parts of Japan that are just as incredible, if not more. Here are some noteworthy places to take a visit to!

nabana no sato (Mie)

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Date & Time: 10/24/2020 – 5/31/2021 

10:00 – 21:00 (22:00 on weekends, holidays, except January and February)

Access: Nabana no Sato

Admission: 2,300 yen


huis ten bosch (nagasaki)

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Date & Time: 11/1/2020 – 12/25/2020 

Access: Huis Ten Bosch

Admission: 7,000 yen



While there are many places to see the Christmas illuminations on this list, it’s nowhere close to being a complete list. There are many smaller places and random streets around Tokyo that have fantastic illuminations as well!

What is your favorite place to watch Christmas illuminations?

Living in Japan Travel Japan

Ways to celebrate Christmas in Japan

Merry Christmas everyone!
Christmas is near and it’s that time of the year to gather at the fireplace, open Santa’s thoughtful gifts, and have a lovely family Christmas dinner!
Christmas is celebrated in Japan too and you can feel the holiday spirits here in Tokyo! However, when it comes to Japanese Christmas traditions, things are very different compared to western countries. 
KFC is the main food for Christmas, it’s not a day off for schools and offices, and people tend to celebrate with their loved ones rather than their families! You could say that Japan has its own way of celebrating Christmas. If you’re curious about these differences, check out our Youtube video for more!

That isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy Christmas in Japan, so in this article, we will explore some of those differences as well as many different ways that you can enjoy Christmas in Japan!

go Watch some illuminations

In Japan, people don’t decorate their homes. Rather, public places like malls and parks are the ones being decorated and they are on another level. Since Japan is a business-oriented country, lots of big companies see Christmas as a good way to market and attract people, so they compete with one another to get the biggest and baddest Christmas setup. 

Seriously, they are nothing short of AMAZING. 

The quality of these illuminations (light decorations) are up there with Disneyland. There are many different places that have illuminations, so I highly recommend stopping by one!

Visit a Christmas Markets

One Christmas tradition that Japan has successfully adopted is Christmas markets (perhaps due to Japan’s love for beer)! Most Christmas Markets in Tokyo also have amazing illuminations which makes it a magical experience (great for dates). 

Most markets are open all through December, so come stop by, eat some hot dogs or takoyaki, sip on some hot chocolate or beer, and enjoy the Christmas holidays!

Christmas Markets are always a fun time for everyone!

eat strawberry shortcake

The Christmas fruitcake equivalent in Japan is the strawberry shortcake. If you’ve ever had cake or been to a bakery in Japan, you should already know that Japan’s pastries are INCREDIBLE.  Nothing else needs to be said. 

Have your own christmas get together with a nabe party

KFC gets packed and if you’re celebrating Christmas in Japan, why not celebrate with Japanese food? Nabe, aka Japanese hotpot, is the staple winter food in Japan and is sold at pretty much every supermarket. It’s super easy to make, has lots of nutrients, and warms up your body.  What can be better than gathering friends and family at the Kotatsu table and sharing a big pot of nabe? 

go snowboarding

Another great way to celebrate Christmas can be on the slopes! Japan is made up of 80% or so mountains and there are literally thousands of ski resorts in this island country. If you love skiing or snowboarding, you can check out our most recommended ski resorts in Japan

Share some gifts

Christmas is the season of giving and while you’re in Japan, why not get a Japanese gift for a loved one? Since Japan is all about business, there are many high-quality Christmas gifts you can find in Japan. Around Christmas time, you can find gifts being sold everywhere from big shopping malls to the middle of the JR station.  This Christmas, show a loved one how much they mean to you!


The Christmas traditions are different in Japan, but that doesn’t mean that the Christmas spirit isn’t there! Wherever you are in the world, I hope that Santa comes by with many presents and that you have a wonderful Christmas season this year!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Living in Japan Travel Japan

Explaining the Go To Campaign

The Japanese government started to pay people to travel during the coronavirus. 

Sounds crazy? Maybe so.

In July of 2020, The Japanese government launched a campaign called the Go To Campaign where they would subsidize up to 20,000 yen per night per travel. This was combat the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Japan’s solution for recovering the economy was the Go-To Campaign where they subsidize up to 20,000 yen per night per hour. 

Let’s take a deeper look.

Why did they start the go to Campaign?

In 2020, the Coronavirus (covid-19) impacted the world and people’s daily lives have changed completely. Masks started becoming mandatory, social distancing became a daily practice, and travel was no longer an option. 

As many of you may know, Japan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. On top of this, they spent around 12.6 billion US dollars to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because they expected an additional 10 million tourists. 

However, instead of an increase, there was a 99.9% drop in tourists because of the coronavirus. So in order to save the travel industry, as well as the whole economy, the Japanese government invested 12.9 trillion yen into the Go To Campaign to increase domestic travels and support businesses nationwide.

who qualifies for the go-to campaign?

Anyone in Japan qualifies for the Go To Campaign. You don’t have to be Japanese and regardless of visa type, anyone who is in Japan at the current moment is able to take advantage of this campaign.

go to campaign details

The Go To Campaign started in July 22,2020 for residents and travelers that are outside of Tokyo. Because Tokyo had the most number of covid-19 infections (and people), the government supported any type of travels that were outside of this urban metropolis. 

However, the campaign didn’t see much results because most middle/upper class citizens lived in Tokyo (aka rich people). As a result, they included Tokyo into the Go To Campaign starting October 1, 2020.

How much does the go to campaign cover?

 The Go To Campaign covers up to 20,000 yen, or up to half the price, per night per person for travels in Japan. The campaign also covers day trips up to 10,000 yen per person. There are also unlimited times that you can use it, which is what makes it so attractive.

From the discounted cost, 35% of it goes to travel costs, which are hotel, transportation, and travel agency fees. The remaining 15% goes to other expenses at the destination, which includes food and shopping. 

So to fully understand how this works, let’s go over some scenarios. 

Travel cost scenarios

Scenario 1: Travels cost 40,000 yen per night

If your travels cost 40,000 per night, you get a 14,000 yen discount on your travel fee and receive 6,000 yen worth of local vouchers.

Scenario 2: Travels cost 10,000 yen per nightIf your travels cost 10,000 per night, you get a 3,500 yen discount on your travel fee and receive 1,500 yen worth of local vouchers.

Scenario 3: Travels cost 50,000 yen per nightIf your travels cost 50,000 per night, since the upper limit is 20,000, you get a 14,000 yen discount on your travel fee and receive 6000 yen worth of local vouchers.

day trip scenarios

Scenario 1: Day Trip costs 20,000 yenIf your day trip costs 20,000 yen, you receive a 7,000 yen discount and 3,000 yen worth of local vouchers.

 Scenario 2: Day Trip costs 5,000 yenIf your day trip costs 5,000 yen, you receive a 1,750 yen discount and 750 yen worth of local vouchers.

Scenario 2: Day Trip costs 30,000 yenIf your day trip costs 30,000 yen, it’s the same scenario as Scenario 1 and you receive a 7,000 yen discount and 3,000 yen worth of local vouchers.

When does the go to campaign end?

The Go To Campaign ends when the funds are exhausted, which is estimated to be around the end of January 2021. However, the funds are being used faster than expected, so there is a possibility that the government will add more funds to this campaign to last until the end of January.

local vouchers during your travels

When traveling, the Japanese government also wants you to support the local businesses as well, so they provide the remaining 15% subsidization in the form of local vouchers which are either in paper or electronic form, depending on the accommodation and how you book your travels.

Paper vouchers

Paper vouchers, you receive at the accommodation and they look something like this.


On the vouchers is the official Go To Campaign logo, price of the voucher, prefectures where you can use the voucher, and the expiration dates. 

Electronic vouchers

If you don’t receive a physical voucher at your accommodation, then your vouchers are most likely online and you can access them here.

When you’re filling out your information to access your electronic vouchers, you’ll need a couple of information:

  • Booking agency ID (ID lookup table)
  • Reservation confirmation number
  • Prefecture

Every time you open a new browser to access your coupons, you’ll need to input this information so make sure to have your info ready before making a purchase!

how to use the local vouchers

You can only use the local vouchers at your destination prefecture and it’s neighbors. As for stores, it has to be somewhere that’s registered with the Go To Campaign.

On the Go To Campaign website, there’s a map that shows you shops that accept them, and what type of coupons they accept. There’s a huge variety in the type of shops that accept coupons. They range from convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, drugstores, and shopping centers. Note that once you use the coupons, you don’t get back change, so be careful.

From our experience, most places accepted the paper coupons, but we had a hard time finding somewhere that accepted the electronic ones.

How to use the Go to Travel Campaign 

In order to receive the go to travel benefits during your travels, you need to book your travels through a registered travel agency or booking company. There are two scenarios when it comes to using the Go To Travel Campaign: booking a travel package or booking your travels separately. 

If you book your travels separately, meaning you book your hotel, transportation, and activities separately, the Go To Discount usually only applies to your hotel. On the contrary, if you decide to go with a travel package, the Go To Discount applies to the travel package and everything it may contain. This usually includes transportation and hotel. However, the drawbacks of a package are that there’s less freedom of choice, there’s a travel agency fee attached, and it often includes a middle to high-end hotel which may not fit budget travelers. 

where to book your travels

Unfortunately, many booking agencies and platforms in Japan are in Japanese, but there are some that offer English. Here’s a list of recommended travel agencies to consider for the Go To Travel Campaign. 

  1.  Nippon Travel Agency (English available)
  2.  Japan Wonder Travel (English available)
  3. (English website)
  4.  H.I.S (English available)
  5. (Japanese only)
  6. Yahoo! Travels (Japanese only)
  7. JTB (Japanese only)

what is go to eats campaign?

The GO To Eats campaign is another variation of the Go to campaign to support local businesses, for those that aren’t traveling. When you make an online reservation with the Go To Eats Campaign, you receive back points which you can use for different purchases later on. 

For lunch reservations you receive 500 yen worth of points per person and for dinner, you receive 1000 yen worth of points per person. However, in order to receive the point benefits of this campaign, there are 2 conditions:

  • make an online reservation with an official registered reservation service
  • register your point card with your account.

As for the type of points, it comes in existing  For the points, it’s existing point systems. (T-point, Docomo, Rakuten, etc.)Some online reservation service include:

As for the type of points, it’s in whichever form the online reservation site uses. For example, I used Tabelog and I received T-points, which can be used in places like Family Mart, Yoshinoya, and Maruetsu. 

The Go To Eats Campaign is estimated to last until January 2021 and the points can be used until March 2021.

safety precautions for covid-19

This campaign is a great way to go out and experience travels and dining that you haven’t been able to try, but let’s not forget that the coronavirus is still around. Whenever you go out, always make sure to:

  • wear a mask
  • use hand sanitizers frequently
  • avoid big groups
  • any other precautions that could help lower the infection rates as possible


The Go To Campaign comes in many different variations and it’s definitely a good way to boost the economy. By practicing safety precautions while also spending, we can help bring up the Japan economy together while also having a good time!
I hope that this information was useful to everyone and don’t forget to wear a mask! 
Also feel free to share this information with anyone else that might be interested in the Go To Campaign!

Travel Japan

50 Places to See Sakura in the Tokyo Area (Google Maps List Inside!)

Sakura season is incredible in Tokyo. Despite being one of the largest cities in the world, Tokyo doesn’t lack when it comes to parks and natural places to see the sakura flowers. 

In Tokyo, the sakura flowers usually start to bloom around late March and enters full bloom about a week after. If you’ve never experienced the sakura in Tokyo before, we recommend checking out our sakura guide

We wanted to create a list of places where you can go to see the sakura in Tokyo. Whether you’re a photographer trying to get the best sakura shots or just someone that wants to appreciate the season, we hope that this list can become a convenient guide for you!

You can see the whole list on Google Maps here.

Tokyo 23 Wards

Higashi-Ayase Park (Adachi)

Higashi Ayase Park Central

Public park in Adachi Ward.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 3 Chome-4 Higashiayase, Adachi City, Tokyo 120-0004, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3605-0005

Toneri Park (Adachi)

One of the biggest public parks in Adachi Ward. Hanami is possible and Sakura Festival happens here.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1-1 Tonerikoen, Adachi City, Tokyo 121-0837, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3857-2308

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens (Bunkyo)

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

One of the biggest gardens in Tokyo

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Address: 1 Chome-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

Cost: 300 yen

Rikugien Gardens (Bunkyo)

Special hours for Sakura season. Famous for the weeping cherry tree, which is also illuminated at night.

Hours: 9:00am – 9:00pm

Address: 6 Chome-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0021, Japan

Cost: 300 yen

Phone Number: +81 3-3941-2222

Chidorigafuchi Park (Chiyoda)

Chidorigafuchi in 2011 (1)

One of the most popular destinations for Sakura in Tokyo. Sakura Festivals occur and some trees are illuminated at night. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-2 Kōjimachi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0082, Japan

Cost: Free

Hibiya Park (Chiyoda)

Located on the southern side of the Imperial Palace.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Hibiyakoen, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0012, Japan

Cost: Free

Imperial Palace East Gardens (Chiyoda)

Spring @ Imperial Palace East Garden

Sakura inside the Imperial Palace.

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm, closed Mondays, Fridays

Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan

Cost: Free

Sotobori Park (Chiyoda)

Small park on the outer moat of the Edo Castle.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 無番地 Gobancho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0076, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3341-1731

Hamarikyu Gardens (Chuo)

Hamarikyu Garden @ Dentsu Building @ Shiodome Sio-Site

Quiet and peaceful place to watch the Sakura trees.

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Address: 1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0046, Japan

Cost: 300 yen

Phone Number: +81 3-3541-0200

Tokyo Station, Sakura Street (Chuo)

The bloom of cherry blossoms of Yaesu Sakura Street

Small avenue lined up with sakura trees.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Japan, 〒103-0028 Tokyo, Chuo City, Yaesu, 1 Chome−6−3 小鉄ビル

Cost: Free

Kasai Rinkai Park (Edogawa)

Spacious spot with lots of other park activities nearby.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 6 Chome-2 Rinkaicho, 江戸川区 Tokyo 134-0086, Japan

Cost: Free

Ojima Komatsugawa Park (Edogawa)

Park by the Aarakawa river where the sakura festival also takes place.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Japan, 〒136-0072 Tokyo, 江東区Ojima, 9 Chome−8

Phone Number: +81 3-3636-9365

Ukita Park (Edogawa)

Local park in Edogawa Ward.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 3 Chome-9 Kitakasai, Edogawa City, Tokyo 134-0081, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3636-9365

Asukayama Park (Kita)

Asukayama Park, Kita, Tokyo

Big park in Kita Ward with museums, hanami, and sakura festival.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-1-3 Oji, Kita City, Tokyo 114-0002, Japan

Cost: Free

Fukagawa Sakura Festival (Koto)

Fukagawa Sakura Festival at Koto Kuritsu Rinkai Park

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 2 Chome-22-7 Eitai, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0034, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3647-9111

Meguro River (Meguro)

Hanami at Megurogawa River 2018

Sakura by the Meguro river with festivals and nighttime sakura as well. Arguably one of the most crowded Sakura spots in Tokyo.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Nakameguro, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0000, Japan

Cost: Free

Aoyama Cemetery (Minato)


Home to Hachiko and his owner and one of the biggest and oldest cemeteries in Tokyo. Hanami is allowed in certain areas.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 2 Chome-32-2 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-3401-3652

Odaiba Marine Park (Minato)

Enjoy the Sakura with the famous Rainbow Bridge in the background. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-4 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 135-0091, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-5500-2455

Roppongi Hills Mori Garden (Minato)

Traditional Japanese style garden in the middle of Tokyo Midtown. They have festivals and night illuminated sakura as well.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 6 Chome-10-1 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-6108, Japan

Cost: Free

Roppongi Sakura-zaka (Minato)

Sakurazaka te Roppongi 6-chōme met kersenbloesem, naar beneden gezien, -6 april 2016 a

Hill on the side street of Tokyo Midtown with Sakura trees lined up. The area is illuminated at night as well. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 6 Chome-12 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan

Cost: Free

Shiba Park (Minato)

Watch the sakura flowers from the base of Tokyo Tower.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 4 Chome-10-17 Shibakoen, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3431-4359

Takanawa Park (Minato)

Park in the middle of the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa. The park is accessible for everyone. 

Hours: 7:00am – 4:30pm

Address: 3 Chome-13-21 Takanawa, Minato City, Tokyo 108-0074, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3451-5487

Toshimaen Sakura Festival (Nerima)

Toshimaen main gate 2019-01-13 (2)

Sakura Festival at Toshimaen. You can rent out a tatami and reserve a spot for hanami. 

Hours: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Address: 3 Chome-25-1 Koyama, Nerima City, Tokyo 176-0022, Japan

Cost: 1000 yen, 500 yen after 3pm

Phone Number: +81 3-3990-8800

Kinuta Park (Setagaya)

Wide, local park in Setagaya Ward.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1-1 Kinutakoen, Setagaya City, Tokyo 157-0075, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3700-0414

Komazawa Olympic Park (Setagaya)

Second stadium for the Tokyo Olympic in 1963 and famous for viewing the sakura.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1-1 Komazawakoen, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0013, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3421-6431

Yoyogi Park (Shibuya)

Yoyogi park sakura

Popular spot for hanami, sakura festival, and night sakura.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0052, Japan

Cost: Free

Shinjuku Gyoen Park (Shinjuku)

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden - sakura 3

Popular yet peaceful place for hanami.

Hours: 9:00am – 4:30pm, Closed Mondays

Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan

Cost: 500 yen

Zenpukuji River Green Park (Suginami)

Local spot to watch the sakura by the river bank.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-30-27 Naritanishi, Suginami City, Tokyo 166-0016, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3313-4227

Sumida Park (Sumida)

Sumida Park

Great spot for hanami. You can view the flowers from a boat tour and it’s close to famous spots like Sensoji and Skytree.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome Mukojima, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-0033, Japan

Cost: Free

Yanaka Cemetery (Taito)

Beautiful cemetery where lots of sakura trees are lined up.

Hours: 8:30am – 5:15pm

Address: 7 Chome-5-24 Yanaka, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3821-4456

Ueno Park (Taito)

Sakura at Ueno Park

Huge park in Tokyo with hanami, festivals, and night sakura.

Hours: 5am – 11pm

Address: Japan, 〒110-0007 Tokyo, Taito City, Uenokoen, 8−・ 池之端三丁目

Cost: Free

Outside Tokyo’s 23 wards

Tamagawa Central Park (Fussa)

Sakura viewing area by the Tama River.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Japan, 〒197-0005 Tokyo, Fussa, Kitadenen, 一丁目先

Phone Number: +81 42-530-4418

Mt Takao (Hachioji)

Trip to Mt.Takao

Sakura from the peak of Tokyo’s famous mountain.

Address: Takaomachi, Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0844, Japan

Cost: Free

Ryonan Park (Hachioji)

Local park in Hachioji.

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Address: 1369, 長房町 Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0824, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 42-661-0042

Yomiuri Land (Inagi)


Amusement Park on the south western border of Tokyo, famous for the night illumination. 

Hours: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo 206-8725, Japan

Cost: 1800 yen, 1500 yen after 4pm

Phone Number: +81 44-966-1111

Koganei Park (Koganei)

Local hanami spot with festival.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-13-1 Sekinocho, Koganei, Tokyo 184-0001, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 42-385-5611

Inokashira Park (Musashino)

Inokashira Park Cherry blossoms

One of the most popular places for Hanami outside the 23 wards. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1 Chome-18-31 Gotenyama, 武蔵野市 Tokyo 180-0005, Japan

Cost: Free

Showa Kinen Park (Tachigawa)

Huge park in Tachigawa with lots of sakura trees.

Hours: 9:30am – 4:30p

Address: 3173 Midoricho, 立川市 Tokyo 190-0014, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 42-528-1751

Outside of Tokyo

Takanedai Sakura Park (Funabashi, Chiba)

Local, peaceful park in Funabashi.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 3 Chome-2 Takanedai, Funabashi, Chiba 274-0065, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 47-436-2555

Sakura Square (Narashino, Chiba)

Small square near Disneyland, with lots of Sakura trees lined up, in the middle of a business and shopping district. 

Hours: 10:00am – 5:30pm, closed Mondays

Address: 1 Chome-5 Shibazono, Narashino, Chiba 275-0023, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 47-454-8739

Ebigawa River (Natsumi, Chiba)

Park next to the river with a small, local festival happening during the season.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 5 Chome-12-1 Natsumi, Chiba 273-0865, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 47-436-2473

Izumi Nature Park (Wakaba, Chiba)

泉自然公園 09

Local, nature park in Chiba.

Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Address: 108 Norocho, Wakaba Ward, Chiba, 265-0053, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 43-228-0080

Hasedera Temple (Kamakura, Kanagawa)


Sakura trees in the middle of a traditional Japanese temple scenery.

Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Address: 3 Chome-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 467-22-6300

Kotokuin Temple (Kamakura, Kanagawa)

Location of the famous giant Buddha statue in Kamakura.

Hours: 8:00am – 5:30pm

Address: 4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

Cost: 300  yen

Phone Number: +81 467-22-0703

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine (Kamakura, Kanagawa)

Hours: 5:00am – 8:30pm

Address: 2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: 

Ikuta Ryokuchi Park (Kawasaki, Kanagawa)

One of the best place to watch the sakura in Kawasaki. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 7 Chome-1-4 Masugata, Tama Ward, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 214-0032, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 44-933-2300

Minoyama Park (Chichibu, Saitama)

Watch the sakura from the mountains of Chichibu.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Minano, Chichibu District, Saitama 369-1412, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 494-23-1511

Yono Park (Chuo, Saitama)

Yono Park Rose Garden

Third oldest park in Saitama where there is also a Rose Festival during the time of Sakura. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 1-1468-2 Honmachinishi, Chuo Ward, Saitama, 338-0004, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 48-711-2290

Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi (Kumagaya, Saitama)

Sakura and Wild turnip / 桜と菜の花(さくらとなのはな)

Near the river bank with festival booths lined up parallel to the sakura trees. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 2 Chome Kawaracho, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0035, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 48-524-1111 

Omiya Park (Omiya, Saitama)

One of the most popular sakura spots in Saitama. The park has over 1200 sakura trees and a festival takes place as well. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Japan, 〒330-0803 Saitama, Omiya Ward, Takahanacho, 4

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 48-641-6391

Comment below if you know any awesome spots for Sakura in Tokyo!

Travel Japan

Beginner’s Guide to Cherry Blossom in Japan

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) season is the one BEST time of the year to travel to Japan. 

Why you ask?

Because places in Japan that you may have been to before look nothing like how it does during this season and it’s not just the big parks and tourist attractions. Every neighborhood, walkway, side street becomes covered in 100 shades of pink and looks like a picturesque scene from a movie. 

There are also many events that happen only during this time period. Both travelers and locals alike gather at the nearest park to celebrate with food, drinks, and festivals. 

Sakura season is such a huge part of traveling to Japan that you don’t want to miss and this guide will show you everything from timing your trip to tips that can help you MAXIMIZE your sakura travel experience!

When is Sakura Season in Japan?

In order to understand when sakura season happens, you first need to understand Japan’s climate. Japan has a gradient of climates, starting from the tropical islands of Okinawa in the south, all the way up to the winter island of Hokkaido in the north.

In the same way, Japan’s cherry blossoms make its first appearance in Okinawa and gradually moves up. Here’s a list of dates when the sakura is predicted to be at full bloom in various cities across Japan.

Once the cherry blossoms go into full bloom in a region, it stays for about 7 to 10 days. Sakura forecasts come out as early as the December of the previous year and constantly updated!

Planning Your Trip to Japan For Sakura Season


The sakura flowers stays in full bloom for roughly one week, so planning your trip to align with the season can be tricky. Here are a couple tips to maximize your chances. 

  • Stay up to date with sakura forecasts. Forecasts for sakura start as early as December, which is enough time to plan your trip 3-5 months ahead. You can find the 2020 sakura forecast updates here.
  • Stay flexible with sakura viewing dates. During this time of the year, Japan has unpredictable rainfalls, so it’s good to keep a few days open for viewing sakura in case you get bad weather in the first try. 
  • Don’t make the whole trip about the sakura. Like mentioned earlier, you’re never completely sure whether you will get to see the cherry blossoms during your travel, so it’s best to keep your expectations low, enjoy Japan, and think of the cherry blossoms as a cherry on top.(pun unintended)
  • Visit different parts of Japan. Instead of waiting for the sakura in Tokyo or Osaka, move around to increase your chances! The Shinkansen connects from Kyushu all the way to Hokkaido and you can ride it as many times as you want if you buy the JR pass!
  • Book hotels early. Both locals and tourists travel around Japan in order to see the cherry blossoms, so hotel prices tend to peak during this time. As soon as you buy your plane tickets, start planning your trip and book the hotels not too long after. 

What to do During Sakura Season

Experience a Hanami

If you want to experience sakura season the way locals do, you can go for a Hanami. Hanami directly translates into English as “flower viewing” but it’s usually only refers to sakura flowers and is only used during this time of the year. The term Hanami is used around loosely, describing different events during sakura season, but the traditional Hanami refers to having a picnic with family and friends, usually at a park, with a nice view of the cherry blossom flowers. 

Preparing for a Hanami

Once you pick a spot with a nice scenic view, its time to prepare what to bring. A Hanami is essentially a picnic with a nice view of the sakura trees so you pretty much need to bring picnic essentials. We recommend taking a visit to Don Quijote to get the stuff you need (plus it’s tax free). Here’s a checklist of essential items for a Hanami.

  • tarp
  • garbage bags
  • chairs or seat cushions
  • disposable utensils
  • paper towels & tissues
  • food & drinks

Tips For a Successful Hanami

If you want to enjoy a big Hanami gathering with your friends, here are some tips. 

  • Keep your dates flexible. The weather during Sakura season is unpredictable in Japan and there’s always a chance of rain. Check the weather forecast ahead of time so that you can always reschedule if the rain comes.
  • Get there early. You’ll be amazed by how fast a huge park can run out of space. Hanami is all about teamwork; Assign one person to save the spot nice and early with the tarp while the others bring food and supplies later on.
  • Find a good spot. A good spot isn’t just one with a nice view. It’s one that has a balance of nice views and close distance to the convenience store or the bathroom(especially in a huge national park).
  • Watch out for crows. Some areas have a lot of crows in Japan. Don’t leave your stuff unattended or keep them in a hard container such as a suitcase.
  • Stock up early. If you’re running out of food or supplies, it’s best to make the errands early. Convenience stores near Hanami spots may even run out of supplies before noon!
  • Bathrooms have a long wait time. You have been warned.

Here are some manners to keep in mind:

  • Don’t touch the trees. The cherry blossom trees are sensitive so avoid touching the flowers or picking them out.
  • Don’t take more space than needed. Parks can get really crowded and run out of space quickly. If you have a huge tarp, fold it up so that others can also enjoy the Hanami.
  • Put your trash in the right place. Don’t leave trash behind. If trash cans are full, take the trash home with you.
  • Loud noises. Be mindful of others who are enjoying the Hanami. Don’t blast your speakers on full blast in the middle of a public park. 


Attend a Cherry Blossom Festival


Another huge event is the Cherry Blossom Festivals, or Sakura Matsuri, held in various public parks and castles throughout Japan.

At the festival, there are lots of booths set up, where people can eat festival food, play Japanese festival games, and hang out with lots of people, all under the cherry blossom trees.

These are some common festival foods you can enjoy at a Sakura Matsuri.

  • Ichigo Ame: Glazed strawberry skewers
  • Yakisoba: Fried noodles
  • Takoyaki: Fried octopus balls
  • Odango: Fried Japanese mochi balls
  • Oden: Fish balls
  • Yakizakana: Grilled fish skewers

While you’re eating some awesome festival food, you can try out some Japanese festival games as well. Here are some common festival games that you can experience during the Sakura Matsuri.

  • kingyo tsukui: Goldfish fishing
  • Kujibiki: Lottery game
  • Suji awase: Number matching

Tips for Cherry Blossom Festivals

  • Bring cash. They usually don’t take credit card
  • Prepare for rain. Bring an umbrella in case it rains
  • Earlier is better. Especially Festivals in big cities, it gets really crowded by noon. Much better to start early
  • Bring extra layers. Spring time is still cold in Japan.
  • Attend the night festival. Yoruzakura(night sakura) is also really famous and they look completely different

Buy Cherry Blossom Products

What’s also great about coming to Japan during sakura season is that you get to bring it home! Many familiar products in Japan are redesigned for the sakura season and you can only get these items once a year. For example, you can get a sakura-themed tumbler from Starbucks and various sakura souvenirs from Don Quijote. 

Where to See the Sakura in Japan

There are thousands of places to watch the sakura, from local streets to full national parks. Here are some of the most popular places for watching the Sakura in various parts of Japan!


Sengan-en Garden (Kagoshima)

Address: 9700-1 Yoshinocho, Kagoshima, 892-0871, Japan
Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm

Mifuneyama Rakuen (Saga)

Address: Japan, 〒843-0022 Saga, Takeo, 武雄町武雄4100

Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Omura Park (Nagasaki)

Address: 1 Chome-45-3 Kushima, Ōmura, Nagasaki 856-0834, Japan

Isshinji Temple (Oita) 

Address: 2 Chome-8-69 Osaka, Tennoji Ward, Osaka, 543-0062, Japan
Hours: 5:00am – 6:00pm

Nishi Park (Fukuoka)

Address: 13 Nishikoen, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0061, Japan
Hours: 24 hours


Okayama Korakuen Garden (Okayama)

Address: 1-5 Korakuen, Kita Ward, Okayama, 703-8257, Japan
Hours: 7:00am – 5:00pm 

Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima)

Address: 1 Chome-1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan
Hours: 24 hours

Asashiyama Forest Park (Kagawa)

Address: 3829-141 Takasecho Shimoasa, Mitoyo, Kagawa 767-0013, Japan 


Matsuyama Castle (Ehime)

Address: 1 Marunouchi, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0008, JapanHours: 9:00am – 4:30pm 

Shiudeyama (Kagawa)

Address: Takumachotsumu, Mitoyo, Kagawa 769-1105, Japan


Himeji Castle (Himeji)

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan
Hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Yoshino (Nara)

Address: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan

Maruyama Park (Kyoto)

Address: 463 Maruyamacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0071, Japan
Hours: 24 hours

Expo Park (Osaka)

Address: 1-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita, Osaka 565-0826, Japan
Hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm, closed Wednesdays

Philosophers path (Kyoto)

Address: Shishigatani Honenin Nishimachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8427, Japan
Hours: 24 hours


Takato Castle Park (Nagano)

Address: Japan, 〒396-0213 Nagano, Ina, 高遠町東高遠
Hours: 24 hours 

Chureito Pagoda (Yamanashi)

Address: 3353-1 Arakura, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0011, Japan
Hours: 24 hours


Ueno Park (Tokyo)

Address: Japan, 〒110-0007 Tokyo, Taito City, Uenokoen, 8−・ 池之端三丁目
Hours: 5:00am – 11:00pm 

Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
Hours: 9:00am – 4:30pm, closed Mondays 

Omiya Park (Saitama)

Address: Japan, 〒330-0803 Saitama, Omiya Ward, Takahanacho, 4Hours: 24 hours


Hirosaki Castle Park (Aomori)

Address:1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8356, Japan
Hours: 24 hours 

Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima)

Address: Sakurakubo-115 Taki, Miharu, Tamura District, Fukushima 963-7714, Japan Kakunodate Samurai House (Akita)Address: Japan, 〒014-0300 Akita, Semboku, 角館町
Hours: 9:00am – 4:30pm, closed Mondays


Odori Park (Sapporo)

Address: 7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan
Hours: 24 hours

Goryokaku (Hakodate)

Address: 44 Goryokakucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0001, Japan
Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm


Sakura season is definitely something that’s on many bucket lists. We hope that our guide was helpful. 

Thank you for reading and we hope that you enjoy your trip to Japan during the sakura season!