When taking a look at a list of hanami (花見; flower viewing) spots in Tokyo (東京), you would normally see Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑), Meguro River (目黒川), Imperial Palace (皇居), Ueno Park (上野公園), and the likes. These are awesome spots to enjoy the cherry blossoms, surely, but don’t forget that Roppongi (六本木) has its own sets of sakura (桜) season-related comings and goings, and not just the nightlife happenings it is more popular for. A day trip here is as enjoyable as in other famous spots of the season, with amazing nighttime sights topping your visit. Here are three things to do in the area during sakura season!
Nope, this is not a test-of-courage kind of stuff you normally see in anime. Aoyama Cemetery is actually one of the good hanami spots in Tokyo. Less crowded than the more popular gardens and parks in the city, you can enjoy a quiet and peaceful walk here while admiring the beautiful cherry blossoms. It can get really crowded on weekends, though. So if you have time to spare on a weekday, squeeze this spot in your hanami itinerary.
Aoyama Cemetery is accessible by a 15-minute walk from Roppongi Station (六本木駅) and a 4-minute walk from Nogizaka Station (乃木坂駅).
Sakura season is the perfect time to visit The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT). The long lines outside the building will already tip you off as the ongoing Yayoi Kusama (草間彌生) exhibit has been continuously attracting large streams of art aficionados day in and day out. Her exhibition will run until the 22nd of May 2017, but why not make it a stop now while you’re appreciating the peak of spring beauty in Tokyo?
Also, inside the NACT is a landmark from the widely successful animated film Your Name (君の名は。) – the Brasserie Paul Bocuse Musée (ブラッスリー ポール・ボキューズ ミュゼ) restaurant. The film’s fans will recognize this as the place where the lead character, Taki (瀧), took his co-worker, Miki (ミキ), out on a date. Make sure you enjoy a nice coffee break here and take a good top-view snap of the restaurant, reminiscent of the film’s fantastic visuals.
And how does this place figure into your hanami must-visits? The breathtaking view of rows of cherry blossoms from NACT’s neighbor, the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (政策研究院大学院大学), will certainly make the long queue to the ticketing booth an enjoyable wait. Just make sure to not get too entranced as NACT closes at 6:00 PM (8:00 PM on Fridays, closed on Tuesdays).
Cap your day with a nice glass of martini in the midst of a fabulous sakura illumination at Midtown Garden (ミッドタウンガーデン). While this stretch is already enchanting at daytime, Midtown showcases a different kind of cherry blossom beauty with this nighttime spectacle. The MARTINI Blossom Lounge (マルティーニ ブロッサム ラウンジ) is open until the 16th of April 2017, so best to enjoy a drink here while sakura is still in full bloom. You may also enjoy the view while strolling around the park, or while having a nice dinner in the Midtown restaurants overlooking the garden.
What’s more, 2017 is Tokyo Midtown’s 10th anniversary, and a Mt. Fuji replica, called “EDO-FUJI (江戸富士),” is installed in the Grass Square to honor the event. A lights display by NAKED Inc. is projected on EDO-FUJI between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM until the 16th of April 2017. It’s a unique lights show you definitely don’t want to miss!
As everything seems to be beautified by tenfold during this much-awaited season, spring offers a scenic view in almost every nook of the town. Simply gazing at the sakura blossoms that are gently blown by the wind, drifting lightly in mid-air, may be enough to make you satisfied, but by bringing in some refreshing twists such as cemeteries, exhibits, illuminations, and whatnots will make your spring experience as fantastic as those flowers in full bloom.