Yozakura: 3 Unique Ways to Enjoy Cherry Blossoms at Night

The joy and grandeur of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) doesn’t end when the sun sets. Thanks to “yozakura,” the custom of viewing cherry blossoms at night, travelers and locals alike can maximize their time under canopies of Japan’s ephemeral pink blossoms.
At first, yozakura—a combination of the Japanese words for “night” (yoru) and “cherry blossom” (sakura)—might seem counterintuitive. How is it possible to take in the full splendor of cherry blossoms without the brisk sunlight and blue skies of a pristine spring day?
Thankfully, with the right lighting, cherry blossoms when viewed at night can be just as spectacular as they are in the daytime. And, as you’ll see in this article, it’s not only the visuals that change as day turns to night. Depending on where you go, your yozakura experience can be entirely different than the blue tarps and rowdy revelers that dominate the day. Read on to learn about three entirely unique ways to spend an evening among cherry trees.

2019-04-17   Visit: Parks & Nature, Tokyo,

Along the Meguro River

“Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival”

No yozakura article would be complete without mentioning the stretch of the Meguro River where the brilliant pink blossoms of 800 cherry trees pierce into the night sky. Hop off the Hibiya subway line at Naka-meguro Station, and follow the crowds until you reach a pink paradise filled with exciting sights and savory aromas.

Festive lanterns illuminate the banks of the river which is lined with food stalls set up exclusively for the all-to-brief hanami season (late March through early April). If you’d like to beat the crowds, make a reservation at a riverside restaurant such as Huit and enjoy the view from the large window facing the tree-lined river.

A restaurant on the bank of the Meguro River

A stoll through Fuchu

In Fuchu, cherry trees are literally around every corner, making it a joy to stroll through the city.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to escape from the crowds of Tokyo proper, head out to Fuchu, a quaint city that’s about a 30-minute train ride from Shinjuku Station via the Keio Line. Fuchu is filled with cherry-tree-lined streets, so it’s a pleasure to simply stroll around the city as dusk turns into night.

That being said, don’t miss Fuchunomori Park.  This park has been immortalized as a popular filming spot for Japanese TV dramas—a testament to its beauty.

A rather ambitions walking course, with hanami hotspots marked by green icons.

Get above it all

If you’re looking for a more luxurious take on hanami, look no further than Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, a “five-star lifestyle boutique hotel” under the Hyatt brand. Here you can enjoy the “Sakura Dinner” at the 52nd-floor Rooftop Bar. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more unique experience than yozakura at 250 meters above the streets of central Tokyo. (Big thanks to Amelie, fellow Tadaima Japan author, for this tip.)

We’re just getting started

These are just a handful of ideas to get you started on your yozakura adventure. Keep in mind that several popular daytime hanami spots, such as Chidorigafuchi, are also strategically lit for maximum effect at night. Cherry trees are ubiquitous in Tokyo and the hanami celebrations don’t have to end when the sun goes down.

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Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.