Hanami is about to come in Yokohama, a city known for its largest Chinatown in the country. Sakura have already bloom in the city, but they have not reached in full glory yet. It will just take a few more days though. Many tourists from Tokyo come to Yokohama during hanami. Are you one of them? The following hanami spots are where you should head towards to see splendid sakura in the city.

Cherry blossoms in bloom are some of the most beautiful sights in the world. They bloom in from late March through early April. The exact time of year varies a bit year to year depending on weather conditions. These cherry blossom blooms hold a unique place in the culture of Japan and Yokohama, like many cities, has planted and tended many cherry trees in pleasant places, perfect for peaceful outings under the spring sky. Here are the five best cherry blossom spots in Yokohama.

1) Negishi Forest Park

Hanami at Negishi Park. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Every cherry blossom spot is different, with its own unique atmosphere and landscape. Yokohama’s Negishi Forest Park is one of the more peaceful ones and one of the loveliest spots to view cherry blossoms in the city.

Negishi Forest Park was originally the first Western-style horse racing track in Japan and has seen time as a residential area and golf course. Today, it is a park best known for its wide green lawn and serene grove of trees. The horse racing track remains, in a way, and is now a walking/jogging path. The park is generally fairly quiet, if quite popular.

During cherry blossom season, this changes. This time of year is the busiest in the park. People come with friends and family to picnic and enjoy the cherry blossoms. There are around 350 cherry blossom trees in the park, meaning that there are plenty to see even with the crowd.

You can reach Negishi Forest Park by taking a 10 minute walk from Negishi Station.  There is also plenty of parking if you prefer to drive, though you will have to pay for parking.  You can find public restrooms and vending within the park. The park is dog-friendly, so don’t feel like you have to leave your furry pal at home.

2) Sankeien Garden

Sankeien Garden’s cherry blossoms and the pagoda. Photo Credit: Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This is a traditional Japanese garden and covers over 174,000 square meters. There are 17 historic buildings around the garden as well as large pond. The manmade and natural elements of the garden blend together into a harmonious whole.

The garden was originally built by Sankei Hara (a successful silk merchant whose real name was Tomitaro Hara) and has managed to survive severe damage experienced during World War II. It was after the war, in 1953, that the garden was transferred from the ownership of Hara family to the Sankeien Hoshokai Foundation, which completed restoration of Sankeien Garden in 1958.

There are many cherry blossom trees in Sankeien Garden, planted all around the garden’s pond. The garden’s opening hours are extended further into the evening during cherry blossom season so visitors can enjoy illuminated cherry blossoms.  The lovely trees are lit up every night by the lanterns of Sankeien Garden’s three story hilltop pagoda.

Sankeien Garden is open until 9:00 PM during cherry blossom season with the last entry at 8:30 PM. These hours last from around March 23rd to around March 30th. You can take a bus to Sankeien Garden from Negishi Station, Sakuragicho Station, or Yokohama Station. To enter, the fee for adults is 700 yen, and the fee for children in junior high and younger is 200 yen.

3) Mitsuike Park

Sakura trees at Mitsuike Park. Photo Credit: Chihiro H at Wikimedia Commons.

Mitsuike Park is the perfect place to escape city life in Yokohama. It sits in the Tsurumi area of the city and covers 29.7 hectares. The locals enjoy the park immensely and it is very popular.

The park is named for its three ponds, which were originally created for fish farming in the Edo period. The park came later and served to link the three ponds. You can find high land and low land here, as well as forests that seem so wild you forget you are in the middle of a busy city. Mitsuike Park holds many sports facilities and is one of the best places to go bird-watching in Japan.

It’s also won multiple awards for its cherry blossoms. It is won first place for cherry blossom viewing in the Kanami area and second place for cherry blossom viewing in all of Japan. There are 1600 cherry trees in Mitsuike Park, meaning that when they bloom, much of the park is covered in pink. There are 70 different kinds of cherry blossoms in the park. The park also hosts a cherry blossom festival, featuring tea ceremonies, performances, and some food stalls.

MitsuikePark is a 15 minute drive from Tsurumi Station. It is open 24 hours a day.

4) Minato Mirai 21 Sakura Festival

Cherry blossoms at Minato Mirai 21 district in Yokohama. Photo Credit: Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This cherry blossom festival is held every year in Yokohama in the Minato Mirai 21 area. The “Sakura-dori” is a 500 meter long street lined with cherry blossom trees. It stretches between JR Sakuragicho Station to Yokohama Landmark Tower and PACIFICO Yokohama.

It’s a unique experience, as the delicate cherry blossoms sit in the middle of some of the most modern buildings in the city. At night, the trees are illuminated with LED lights, making them stand out against the lit-up city skyline.

Besides the beauty of the cherry blossoms, the festival also hosts a number of performances and events at the surrounding facilities. A few of these are held during the week, but most of them can be found during the weekends only.  The festival typically lasts about a week starting around the end of March.

Attendance to the festival is free. The closest rail stations are Sakuragicho Station and Minatomirai Station.

5) Ookagawa River

Ookagawa River during hanami. Photo Credit: Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau.

There is something special about seeing cherry blossoms in bloom alongside a river. In Yokohama, the five kilometer walk along the Ookagawa River between the Sakuragicho station on the JR Negishi line and Gumyoji Station on the Keikyu Line. It’s a long, serene walk full of lovely cherry blossoms in bloom the whole way, reflected in the river.

You can always cut the journey short if you’re tired by hoping on one of the trains at the many stations that can be found near the river. There are many shops and restaurants to be found near the river. Whether you have an hour or four to spare, this is a great opportunity to see cherry blossoms in Yokohama.