Sailing through sakura: One-of-a-kind Tokyo cherry blossom events & activities

Cruiser 'Annie' running along a sakura-lined stretch of the Meguro River
Cruiser 'Annie' running along a sakura-lined stretch of the Meguro River

Sailing through sakura: One-of-a-kind Tokyo cherry blossom events & activities

by Krys Suzuki
Live Japan

If you're planning a trip to Tokyo this spring (or if you're already there!), then you're just in time to catch one of the most anticipated times of the year: Sakura Season!

Every spring, all over Japan people celebrate the fleeting beauty of these beautiful blossoms. While many people choose to simply visit a nearby park, for those looking for a bit more excitement, there are some truly unique experiences to be had.

Here are some of the most exciting cherry blossom events to join if you're in the Tokyo area!

1. Yomiuriland Night Cherry Blossom Jewellumination: A Nighttime Spectacular
Yomiuriland is Tokyo’s largest amusement park. And this year, they're bringing back their signature sakura event, Night Cherry Blossom Jewellumination, along with several other seasonal attractions you can enjoy, both day and night.

We recommend visiting between late March and early April, when the nearly 1,000 cherry trees of the Someiyoshino, Yamazakura, and Shidarizakura varieties will be at their peak!

Nighttime Attractions
Night Cherry Blossom Jewellumination

From March 18 to April 9 (Sun), you'll be able to enjoy an evening stroll through a 180-meter-long, gorgeously illuminated cherry blossom promenade. Designed by world-renowned lighting designer, Makoto Ishii, Night Cherry Blossom Jewellumination transforms the park's Sakura Namiki footpath into a spectacularly glowing tunnel of trees.

Night Cherry Blossom Jewellumination: A 180m-long illuminated sakura promenade (picture from last year)

Fountain Show
The fountain show is a dazzling display of overwhelming scale, combining lasers, flames, and 185 fountains across a huge 12-meter water screen. You won't want to miss this powerful production!

The Fountain Show is a bright and brilliant production!

HANA BIYORI HANA Akari Illumination:
And don't forget to check out Yomiuriland's botanical garden, HANA BIYORI! This creative flower park, featuring nearly 250 sakura trees, combines hanami with art and culture. And this year, they are also holding their own illumination event, Hana Akari, with nearly 1,000 bamboo lights illuminating the cherry trees.

HANA Akari Illumination at Yomiuriland's botanical garden, HANA BIYORI

Daytime Attractions:
The good news about Yomiuriland is, you don't have to wait until nightfall to enjoy the attractions. There's plenty to do in the daytime, too! For starters, thrill-seekers will enjoy jetting through the cherry blossoms at top speed on the springtime edition of the park's number one coaster, the Bandit.

The Bandit, transformed into a limited-time only Hanami Coaster (picture from last year)

For something more laid-back, hop a ride on the Gondola Sky Shuttle for a bird's eye view of the cherry trees. This shuttle connects Keio Yomiuriland Station and the park entrance, taking you on a scenic aerial tour of the park.
(One-Way: 300 yen / Round Trip: 500 yen)

Soar above the sakura on the Gondola Sky Shuttle! (Picture from last year)

Of course, you can also take a stroll through the park's main nighttime feature in the daytime, too. Sakura Namiki, the 180m-long cherry blossom promenade and site of the above-mentioned Night Cherry Blossom Jewellumination light-up, is just as beautiful in the sunlight!

Sakura Namiki, the 180m-long Cherry Blossom Tunnel, is just as beautiful during the day! (Picture from last year)

As you wait for the night to fall, you can also stop by the hot spring bathhouse, Yomiuriland Oka no Yu, for a relaxing, open-air soak surrounded by cherry trees. However, this bathhouse is sadly closing down in January 2024. So for a one-of-a-kind hot spring hanami, this year may be your last chance! (Separate admission fees apply)

A hot spring hanami from Yomiuriland's open air bath, Oka no Yu. (Picture from past years)

Event Outline:
Yomiuriland Night Cherry Blossom Jewelmination

・Period: March 18 - April 9
・Hours: 4:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (Until 8:00 p.m. between April 1-9)
*Please note the park is open as regular during the day.
・Admission: After Pass (Admission after 3:00 p.m. + unlimited rides on attractions. For information on which attractions are available, please see official website.) Adults: 3,100 yen / Junior High & High School: 2,500 yen / Elementary School & Seniors (65+): 2,200 yen / Pre-school: 1,500 yen
*Please note that you cannot bring in cans, bottles, or any alcohol into the park. Packed foods are allowed to be brought in.

HANA BIYORI: HANA Akari Illumination
・Period: March 18 - April 9
*Please note HANA BIYORI is open as regular during the day.
・Hours: 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
・Admission: Adults & Seniors: 900 yen / Children: 500 yen
*Please note that you cannot bring in cans, bottles, or any alcohol into the park. Packed foods are allowed to be brought in.

Yomiuriland Oka no Yu
・Hours: 10:00 a.m. - midnight (Last reception: 11:30 p.m.)

Yomiuriland よみうりランド
Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo 206-8566
Phone Number: 044-966-1111

2. The Unko Museum: An UNbelievable and UNique Springtime Event Featuring... Poop?!
For a unique take on the traditional hanami, you can plan yours in a museum dedicated to... poop!

Since its birth in 2019, Japan's 'Unko Museum' ('Poop Museum' in English) has piqued the curiosity of over one million visitors from Japan and all over the world. And this year, Unko Museum TOKYO is hosting a limited-time-only 'MAX Unko Sakura Festival 2023' from March 25 to April 16.

The Unko Museum (aka 'The Poop Museum') in Tokyo hosts the 'MAX Unko Sakura Festival 2023' for a limited-time.

The Unko Museum's Unko x Sakura Miracle Collaboration
The Unko Museum is a one-of-a-kind UN-tertainment center full of fun and silly poop-themed experiences for the entire family, and plenty of poop-related word puns (the 'un' in many of the museum's attraction names come from 'unko', which means 'poop'). Also, because the museum is indoors, you won't have to worry about bad weather or a high pollen count raining on your parade.

During the event period, you'll find full-bloom cherry blossom trees in various parts of the museum. In celebration of the season, the facility's signature erupting 'Poop Volcano' will also be spewing cherry-colored sponge droppings against a backdrop of a poop-and-sakura themed projection mapping display.

The 'Unko Volcano' actually erupts!

Over at the 'Unstagenic Area', you'll also find real cherry blossom trees, brought in for a limited time to grant you a picture poo-fect photo shoot that you'll be eager to share over your favorite social media outlets!

Speaking of social media, followers of the Unko Museum's official Twitter and Instagram pages can also receive a limited-edition, spring-themed poop sticker! Just show your phone to the venue staff. (Limited quantities available, while supplies last.)

The 'Unstagenic Area', a photo spot decked out with neon lights of the word 'poop' in different languages.

MAX Unko Sakura Festival 2023
・Period: March 25 - April 16
・Hours: Weekdays: 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. / Holidays: 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Last admission 1 hour before closing)
・Admission: Adults: 1800-2300 yen / Junior high & high school: 1400-1500 yen / Children (4+): 900-1000 yen / 3 and under: Free when accompanied by an adult (18+), valid for up to two children. (Price may vary by date)
*Children 4-6 should be accompanied by someone at least junior high school age.
*Junior high & high school students may be asked for school ID.
*You may be asked to confirm your age when entering the museum.

Unko Museum TOKYO うんこミュージアム
Address: DiverCity Tokyo Plaza 2F, 1-1-10 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064

3. Meguro River Hanami CHANDON Cruise: Cherry Blossoms & Champagne Aboard A Charted Cruise
The Meguro River is one of Tokyo's most famous places for cherry blossom viewing. And this year, you can enjoy a river-top hanami with your family and friends aboard your own private cruiser, complete with champagne!

Meguro River Hanami CHANDON Cruise
The Hanami CHANDON Cruise is a highly-anticipated springtime event that's been featured in tons of Japanese media outlets, from TV and magazines, to videos by several well-known Japanese YouTubers. This year marks the 8th run of this popular project, with a total of over 4,000 participants, and many repeat customers!

The Meguro River Hanami CHANDON Cruise takes you down a 4km-long stretch of the river, lined with nearly 800 cherry blossom trees on each side, and blanketed with gorgeous carpets of sakura petals atop the water's surface.

Sakura petals blanket the water's surface, known as a 'flower raft' in Japanese.

Two Private Hanami Cruisers, Annie and Lily
Choose from one of two charter boats, 'Annie' and 'Lily'. These small boats are built for style and comfort, with air-conditioned cabins and original spring-themed decorations. Both cruisers can accommodate up to eight guests, with reservations starting at a minimum of six. Cruises typically last about 90 minutes.

The platform is also a private pier and closed to the general public. So chill out in the private event space, Lounge CRIB, with your friends as you wait to board your boat!

The Lily, anchored at the pier.

Indulge in Champagne and Sweets
Once aboard, guests are welcomed with a special box of hanami-themed finger foods filled with treats that perfectly complement your glass of Chandon Rosé.

Each person can enjoy a special box of hanami-themed finger foods.

Chandon Rosé is a rich, elegant champagne, fruity in both flavor and fragrance. Combined with it's bright rosy-pink hue, it's the perfect beverage for those looking to host a hanami with sophistication and style.

2023 Annie decorations, featuring original Chandon tablecloths and cushions

Plan Outline:
・Period: March 20 to April 9
・Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Up to 5 departures daily)
・Admission: Weekdays: 13,200 yen / Weekends: 16,500 yen (per person / tax included / 6 person minimum)

Anniversary Cruise
Address: Shibaura CRIB Pier (Bayside Building 1F), 2-1-23 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Phone Number: 03-6809-6455

4. Afternoon Tea Bus Tour: Enjoy A Hanami Tea Party Aboard A London Bus

The Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is like a hanami tea party on wheels!

Just in time for spring, Upstar Co., Ltd. is launching Japan's first hanami-themed 'Afternoon Tea Bus Tour' starting Friday, March 3, 2023.

This special tour takes you through some of Tokyo's most famous cherry blossom spots aboard a London bus, as you indulge in the delicious flavors of spring and the season's captivating scenery.

Two Afternoon Tea Bus Tours to Choose From!
Afternoon Tea Bus Tours are available along two different routes. The Omotesando Course will take you through four popular hanami spots: down Meiji Street, through Tokyo Midtown, and through Shiba and Hibiya Park.

The Shinjuku Course visits three hanami spots after passing through Shinjuku and Shibuya: Midtown, Chidorigabuchi, and Yasukuni Shrine. Each tour lasts about 90 minutes. It's like a hanami tea party on wheels!

Afternoon Tea Bus Tour Spring-Limited Menu
The springtime-only Afternoon Tea Menu features traditional Japanese snacks, including sakura-flavored dango, monaka, and chirashi sushi. The menu includes savory treats (chicken sandwich with yuzu pepper, chirashi sushi, and okaki) and sweets (sakura-flavored dango, manju, donuts, and strawberry cheesecake). (Menu may differ.)

Omotesando Course:
・March: 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 21, 24-26, 31
・April: 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
Shinjuku Course:
・March: 14-19
*The bus will run regardless of cherry blossom blooming dates.

・11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
・1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
・3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
・5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Only on Saturdays)
・7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (Only on Saturdays)
*Actual times may differ slightly depending on traffic conditions.

・Adults (junior high & up): 6,800 yen / Children (elementary & under): 3,000 yen (Prices include tax)
*Upfront payment required.

0120-839-559 (10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)

・Omotesando: Omotesando Shiota Building Mae (Route 246), 5-10 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

・In front of Family Mart Shinjuku Sanchome Store (Yasukuni Street)

Official Website


Via Live Japan

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