Late Cherry Blossom Viewing: Chiyoda Edition
I don't know about you, but for me, no matter how many people told me how epic cherry blossom season is, you don't fully understand the gravity of those words until you are there in person. And, the funny thing is, I wasn't even there for peak season. I landed in Tokyo on the 15th of April, 25 days after the first bloom and 15 days after full bloom. Honestly, I had reserved myself to the fact that I may not see any trees in bloom. However, something magical happened (by magical, I mean scientific, but it felt magical to me), as we flew lower to the ground to land at Narita Airport, I saw them, I saw many - cherry blossom trees lining farmland, here, there and everywhere. Suddenly, even after a 23 hour commute, I was more excited (and emotional) than I ever knew I could be.
Sure, there weren't nearly as many trees in bloom as there would have been during peak season, however, here are the places that I visited that were still showing their beauty.
The reason why we decided to go here was because of the well-known Chidorigafuchi area, where you are able to rent a cute row boat and row around and under the beautiful trees whilst cherry blossom petals fall into the water, creating a layer of pink beauty. Unfortunately, we didn't make it onto a boat, but I'll get to that later.
We arrived at the Hanzomon subway station and walked to the Hanzomon Security Police Station as it looked like a good place to start exploring. We went left of the police station and walked along the footpath, with the goal of arriving at Chidorigafuchi. Walking along these riverside paths is really something else. The entire walkway is filled with beautiful cherry blossom trees. And, even in mid-April, the blossoms were magnificent. We managed to miss our destination completely when we decided to turn right just before the
Chidorigafuchi Security Police Station which took us to Kitanomaru Park. Since we were on a schedule, we turned around here to get back on track.
Like most things in Japan, this service has no website to provide you with tips. The boat hire shop is only every day of the week, besides Monday. Remember that. However, since many people come to this part of Tokyo just for this, Monday might be the best day to avoid crowds if boat rowing isn't your thing. If it is, then there are a few other things you will need to keep in mind as well. Get there early. The shop opens at 11am and I would recommend getting there and lining up at 9:30am. During cherry blossom season, it will be very busy and since sessions go for 30mins, if you're late, it will be a long wait. Go later in the season. I think because we were there a bit later, there weren't nearly as
many people as I had seen in photos on the internet. But that also meant the cherry blossoms along the water weren't in full bloom. I didn't mind so much, but you should definitely think about when you want to come here. Weekdays are the best time to come, whilst the locals are at work and the kids are in school. Be sure to check when the public holidays and school holidays are.
Sadly, we didn't end up renting a boat as we underestimated how many people would be lining up, even though the streets before it didn't look busy at all. It was all worth the trip to Chiyoda, though. The cherry blossoms here were some of the best we saw during this time of the year.