Tokyo’s cosmopolitan nature and the myriad of sightseeing opportunities available there makes the city a year-round destination. Even so, if we have to pick one season, the best to time visit to Tokyo is in springtime.
Summer in Tokyo can be unpleasant, as the temperature and humidity can shoot up the roof. Tokyo is expensive in the winter, and the city stands still during the last day of December and the first four days of January when most sights and restaurants close down for the holiday. On the other hand, spring is cool and pleasant for outdoor jaunts.
So, yes! Best time to visit Tokyo is between the last week of March to mid-April because of the cherry blossom season where it is the most beautiful.
Best Time to Visit Tokyo is Cherry Blossom Season
Cherry blossom season means charming backdrops to Tokyo’s cityscape during springtime- although being relatively short, reaching full bloom (mankai) within one week after the opening of the first blossom (kaika) and then starting to fall from the trees after passing its peak one week later.
Tourists from all over the world flock to Japan just to view these lovely, ethereal, pale-pink flowers. Tokyo may not be the most ideal place to view the cherry blossoms, but the canopies of blooming cherry trees do add charm and softness to Tokyo’s modern cityscape. The best places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo are:
There are about a thousand cherry trees lining the paths in Ueno Park. But because admission is free, the park gets pretty crowded and noisy with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
You need to fork out about 200 yen to enter the park, but at least you get to enjoy the cherry blossoms in relative peace and quiet!
The centrepiece of this park is a large pond surrounded by cherry blossom trees. Viewing the blossoms from a rented boat on the pond can be a romantic experience. Sounds perfect for love birds, right?
Sumida River Park
Both sides of the Sumida River in this park are lined with weeping cherry trees. It’s another romantic place to view cherry blossoms from the water, especially at night.
Koishikawa Botanical Garden
The oldest landscaped garden in Tokyo may have only a few dozen cherry trees, but its traditional Japanese gardens more than makeup for it.
Aside from cherry blossom viewing, another reason why springtime is the best time to visit Tokyo is Golden Week, from April 29 to May 5. Most Tokyo denizens desert the city for the countryside on Golden Week. So you won’t meet the crowds when sightseeing in the city. But the chances of shops closed are high too so please proceed with caution.
If you missed the cherry blossom viewing season, don’t worry. Tokyo’s festivals are reason enough to visit Tokyo in springtime. Must-see springtime festivals in Tokyo include:
Tokyo’s biggest festival occurs on the third Sunday of May. Its main feature is the parade of mikoshi deity-transporting palanquins known for their elaborate decorations and extreme heaviness. Mikoshi teams, often led by a yakuza boss, compete with each other for cheerfulness and spirit in carrying these heavy palanquins. The festival also features geisha performances.
The Kanda Matsuri started out as a celebration of Japan’s prosperity under the Tokugawa Shogunate. Today, it’s marked by parades of around 100 mikoshi and festival floats, as well as performances of traditional artists and modern pop idols alike. Many of the parade participants dress in elaborate feudal costumes. The Kanda Matsuri is one of the three great Shinto festivals of Tokyo and is held on the weekend nearest May 15 on odd-numbered years.
One can argue that anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics) are among Japan’s most popular cultural exports. The annual AnimeJapan, held on the last week of March, is the biggest celebration of all things anime and manga. If you’re an otaku travelling to Japan in the springtime, you mustn’t miss this event.
But lest we forget, visiting Tokyo is good anytime. Just so happen Tokyo is so much more happening in the spring. So, what are you waiting for? Book your Tokyo holiday today – with Tripfez #manamanatrippunbest!