Nihonbashi Cherry Blossom Festival
Tokyo doesn’t come much better than in springtime. With flora coming into bloom, the city comes alive and welcomes in the much cherished sakura (cherry blossoms), which for several weeks dust Tokyo in cherubic tones of white and pink.
There is arguably no better place to experience the sakura than Nihonbashi, a neighborhood in the center of Tokyo with historical roots as a central trading hub. Today, the area is a favorite among Tokyoites during the Nihonbashi Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival provides a great opportunity to experience the sakura, with popular tree watching spots, including “sakura scenery” from all of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
For the duration of the festival, numerous shops will light up in beautiful sakura colors. Along the vibrant and historical Nihonbashi Sakura Dori, an immersive projection mapping show on Naka Dori called “Nihon Sakura Kaze Kaido” wraps you in the authentic feeling of sakura season through light and music, as if the cherry blossoms are snowing down upon you. Definitely a sight not to be missed.
Patrons of the festival are invited to sate their palates with the best food and drink that Tokyo has to offer. On March 26 and 27, you can walk back in time alongside Fukutoku Shrine and try the original menus of famous restaurants and shops at the stalls that line the streets. And from March 19 to April 10, experience The Best of Japan Gourmet Tour, at Coredo Muromachi, where you can sample different traditional Japanese foods, facilitated by an English-speaking guide. If you post photos on social media you will receive 50% off the price of the Gourmet Tour.
Between April 4 and 10, partons over the age of 18 are invited to wet their whistles during the Nihonbashi Sakura Bar. Eighty stores take part in this highly-anticipated drinking event, with advance tickets selling fast (¥2,900 in advance; ¥3,100 via web on day of event; ¥3,300 at the door). The party then continues with the 4th Annual Nihonbashi Area Sake Walk & Taste Tour (advance tickets ¥2,500; regular price ¥3,000), where you can drink as much sake as you want from across Japan.
Patrons get a rare chance to see sakura in style, with sakura-themed transportation options including the Sakura Bus, Sakura Rickshaws, and, for its maiden voyage, the Sakura Boat.
Nihonbashi Cherry Blossom Festival. Mar 18-Apr 10. Mitsukoshimae or Shin-Nihonbashi. www.nihonbashi-tokyo.jp/en/sakura2016. Omotenashi Nihonbashi: www.nihonbashi-info.jp/omotenashi
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