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Sumida River is located between Asakusa area and the Tokyo sky tree tower area. Both famous sightseeing spots are within a 10-15min walk. Sakura festivals are held during Sakura season. The lines of Sakura trees beautifully decorate the river bank. Let’s see how you can enjoy spring season at Sumida riverbank.

Brief history of Sumida river Sakura trees

Sumida riverside is one of the most famous Tokyo Hanami spots. The history dates back to middle of the 18th century. A Tokugawa Shogunate ordered to plant Sakura cherry trees alongside the river for the ordinary citizens. Thanks to the shogun, the Edo citizens started socializing under Sakura trees.

In addition, the landscape of the Sumida river during Sakura season appear in a famous Japanese song called “Hana” (indicates Sakura blossoms). I believe most Japanese people sing this song when they were school children. The lyrics of the song beautifully illustrate Sumida riverside’s cherry blossoms, its petals and boats floating on the river.

sumida_sakura

Sumida locals’ beloved festival, Bokutei Sakura Matsuri

sumida_sakura

The eastern side of the river, the Tokyo sky tree tower side, will have some food stalls run by local people. They serve hot food such as Yakitori BBQ, Tonjiru-soup and Yakisoba noodles. Under the cherry trees, grass mats and tables are available for eating and drinking. Those nostalgic table sets could remind us the long history of Hanami party in this location. The lanterns light up night time picnic and locals gather for enjoying chat under the tree.

Adding more charm on this festival is an open air café served by Geisha ladies. Mukojima district near the riverside is known as a red light district in the past. Those Geisha houses are still in business. Geisha ladies nowadays are invited to a private dinner party as giving a performance to entertain the participants. They are usually train hard for their performance in mornings. However, during this event, we can see the ladies beautifully dressed in Kimono cloth at the café. They serve Japanese confectionaries with a cup of green tea. Furthermore, they are very welcome to take a photo with guests. This is a special opportunity to mingle with Geisha ladies.

Geisha_cafe

Bokutei Sakura festival

    • Venue: Mukojima, Sumida-ward, Tokyo
    • Date:From end of March to beginning of April
    • Time:around 10am to 9pm
    • Getting there:A 5 min from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei subway Asakusa line, Tobu Skytree Line Asakusa station/ A 10 min walk from Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei subway Asakusa line Oshiage station.

 

  • Geisha café/ Event Information
  • Date:Bokutei Sakura festival period
  • Open hours:11:30am-3:30pm (subject to change without notice)

A fabulous view from Sumida park, Sumida Sakura festival

Tokyoskytree

The other side of the river, the Asakusa bank, is full of Hanami party people, as this west bank holds a great view: combination of lines of Sakura trees, the boats floating river and the Tokyo Sky Tree tower. The Sumida riverscape in spring has been iconic image of Tokyo before the tower built. However, the tower changed its night view adding fantastic atmosphere.

Asakusa Yabusame horseback archery at Sumida park

When Sakura turn to fresh green, an exciting event the Yabusame horseback archery takes place in this park. Yabusame players release arrows towards targets while riding on a horse. Horses run from near the Tobu railway bridge and gallop throughout the Kototoi Bridge.

Yabusame

During this 300 meter course, three wooden targets are prepared. If the player hit the target, confetti are released and people applaud. A player who beats all three targets is gifted beautiful cloth as ancient people were rewarded. This event handed down the ancient New Year’s ceremony, and therefore all participants are costumed in Kimono cloth.

yabusame

In recent years, more and more foreign tourists watch this event. The organizer offers explanations in both English and Japanese. This would be a thrilling event well associating with fresh spring greenery.

Asakusa Yabusame horseback archery

Spring Sumida riversides have been the scenic spot since a few hundred years ago. Its beauty is said “beyond expression” in the “Hana” song. You would also be touched by the great view.

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AUTHOR

Kumo

Writer / Translator

I love travelling and tourists! Where to next? Wherever it is, I hope to find a good onsen (hot spring bath), delicious drinks, and friendly people. I enjoy telling Japanese stories in English, and it fills my life with plenty of learning opportunities!