THE ULTIMATE HANAMI GUIDE

Top Trees Gyaruzakura

Ichinomiya-cho, Gifu Prefecture, located near Takayama, a one-minute walk from Hidaichinomiya station on the Takayama line. Prime Time: Mid to late April.
Named for its unique shape, which resembles a dragon lying on the ground, this tree is over 1,100 years old.

Jindaizakura

Jissou-ji, Yamataka, Mukawa-mura, Kitakoma-gun, Yamanashi (Jissou-ji Temple: 0551-262-740). Prime Time: Early to mid-April.
Known to be the oldest cherry tree in Japan, this 2,000 year old specimen was the first cheery tree to be declared a natural monument.

Miharu no Takizakura

Tamura-gun, Fukushima-ken (Miharu Town Office: 0247-622-111), 4 miles by taxi from Miharu station. Prime Time: Early April.
Named for its resemblance to a waterfall, this 1,000-year old tree is one of the best in the country, located in Miharu-cho, an area which boasts several thousand trees.

Usuzumi-zakura

Neo-mura, Motosu-gun, Gifu (Neo-mura Public Office: 0581-382-511). Prime Time: Late March.
This breathtaking tree is 1,500 years old and was planted by Emperor Keitai-Tenno (507AD to 531AD). The name refers to the light pink color which the blossoms gradually change to from white.

Best Tokyo (and near-Tokyo) Locations

(Prime viewing is typically late March to early April). Please note that some parks may have small admission fees.

Chidorigafuchi Minakami Park

2-3 Kudan-minami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (03-3264-0151). Closest station: Kudanshita

Inokashira Park

1-18-31Gotenyama, Musashino-shi, Tokyo (0422-476-900). Closest stations: Kichijoji, Inokashira Koen.

Aoyama Cemetery

2-32-2 Minami-aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo (03-3401-3652). Closest stations: Gaienmae, Nogizaka.

Yoyogi Park

2-1 Kamisono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (03-3469-6081). Closest stations: Harajuku, Yoyogi-koen.

Ueno Park

5-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo (03-3828-5644). Closest station: Ueno.

Shinjuku Gyoen Park

Featuring 75 types and more than 1500 trees, this oasis in the middle of bustling Shinjuku offers a peaceful respite. Closest station: Shinjuku Gyoen.

Yasukuni Shrine

3-1-1 Kudan-kita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (03-3261-8326). Closest station: Kudanshita.

Sumida Park

On the banks of the Sumida River. Closest station: Asakusa.

Edogawa Park

Trees line both sides of the river creating a beautiful canopy. Closest stations: Edogawabashi, Waseda (Toden Arakawa line).

Shiba Park

Pleasant viewing with Zojo-ji temple as a backdrop. Closest station: Azabu-juban

Gotenyama Hills

Enjoy serene viewing in this urban hub. 4-8 Kita-Shinagawa. Closest station: Shinagawa.

Jingu Gaien

Nearly 500 trees burst into bloom in the Meiji Jingu Outer Gardens. Closest stations: Gaien-mae, Shinanomachi.

Kamonyama Park

2000 trees fill this quiet park, which also features a Japanese garden-style pond. Closest station: Sakuragicho.

Story by James Souilliere
From J SELECT Magazine, March 2008

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