If there are crowds at Shinjuku Gyoen, be prepared for an even larger crowd at Meguro. This usually happens in the evening near Naka-meguro station, when the lanterns under the trees are lit and where the river is narrower so that the cherry blossoms on opposite banks brush against one another like shy lovers.
It is a mesmerising scene attracting so many people that wardens are required for crowd control! Wardens also carry signs to guide the throng on a Sakura Route, which winds around a short stretch of the river with cafes and food stalls on both sides.
If you prefer a more pleasant experience without the crowds, walk south along the roughly 3-kilometre-long Meguro River Cherry Blossom Promenade. The river may be wider and there’s no verdant archway for photos, but it is still beautiful and infinitely more peaceful.
How to get there: A 10-minute stroll from Naka-meguro metro station will take you to the cherry blossom promenade. Alternatively, it is a 20-minute drive from Fraser Suites Akasaka.
Also near Fraser Suites Akasaka is Tokyo Midtown, an upmarket complex with offices, shops and restaurants. Many of the eateries are perfectly positioned for a good view of the 150 or so cherry trees that line the streets around the complex.
Dining at a restaurant here has to be the ideal hanami, with table service and not a single groundsheet in sight. Take your pick from either indoors or al fresco dining under the trees here. Other spots to visit in this ‘city within a city’ are the Galleria shopping mall, adjacent Hinokicho Park and Suntory Museum of Art, due to reopen in May following renovations.
How to get there: Tokyo Midtown is a 10-minute walk from Roppongi and Nogizaka metro stations. A car will also take you there from Fraser Suites Akasaka in 8 minutes.
10. Hop on a special sakura guided tour
For the ultimate experience, how about a sakura tour by car? Nihon Kotsu is a taxi and limousine company that also offers sightseeing tours with an English-speaking driver.
In spring, a special sakura package includes a guide which will take you and your company to view some of the most popular sakura spots – an exclusive service with maximum comfort and convenience!
While Tokyo is awash with prime hanami spots, Fraser Suites Akasaka’s location in the heart of town is perfect for you to go sakura-hunting and enjoy the luxury of space the brand new serviced apartment provides in the bustling, sophisticated neighbourhood of Akasaka.
If you’re staying in Japan for long, don’t miss the chance to visit Osaka, just under a 3-hour bullet train ride away from Tokyo. Known for its historic attractions, modern architecture and gourmet options, you can catch the blooms here while feasting on both history and its myriad of culinary delights.