Inokashira Park in Kichijoji is a great place for cherry blossom viewing in Japan. It is often packed with people having picnics, taking photos and relaxing on little boats in the lake. We went there on the weekend and had a great time.
Inokashira Park (井の頭恩賜公園) and Inokashira lake were established during the Edo period and became one of the main water sources for Tokyo. The park was opened to the public in 1913 as a gift from the Emperor to the people of Japan. It has since become one of Tokyo’s main parks.
The park has a large lake in the middle, pretty much all surrounded by cherry blossoms in spring. It’s an easy and relaxing 30 minute walk around, if you are not distracted by Sunday’s performers or one of the many cool cafes along the way.
The first cherry blossom trees to greet you in the park.
The long route around the park.
Many people have told us, or warned us about taking a boat on the lake though! It is said that if a couple takes a ride of one of these, they will soon break up! This curse didn’t seem to stop anyone from enjoying the mini boats though, and we recommend having a ride if you are on a date.
Riding on the cursed boats…….
Try out the duck shaped boats for a safer and hopefully happier couple!
Many people bring out their ‘blue sheets’ early in the morning, and relax under the trees till night. The best spaces get taken up pretty quickly, so head out early if you want a spot. While other parks were full of businessmen reserving areas and having ‘salaryman’ parties, Inokashira seems to be just for friends having a fun and jolly time together. Bring some beer, sushi and your ready to party!
Not much space left, so we just walked around the park.
There are lots of little spots to have a sit down in Inokashira Park.
As you make your way around the park, you eventually end up at Benzaiten Shrine, the most famous shrine in Kichijoji. It’s on a little island in the lake, and you can get onto it over some very cute little bridges. It’s quite interesting to watch the locals going through their prayer routines as well, so we recommend standing near and enjoying the rituals.
Benzaiten Shrine, Kichijoji
Some of the final cherry blossom trees, finishing off a lovely walk.