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Less crowded cherry blossom viewing spots in Minato Ward

Cherry blossom viewing (hanami) should be done fast, otherwise you risk not seeing sakura at all. Recently cherry blossom season is getting very short and you can visit one or two places to see the full bloom. However, if you have a day or at least several hours to spare, it does not have to be so. It is simply amazing how many spots Minato Ward can offer for sakura viewers absolutely free!

Zenpuku-ji

Also known as Azabu-san, the temple was founded in 824. Although it is not very crowded with tourists, it is one of the oldest temples in the city (after temples in Asakusa).Zenpuku-jiThere is a big ‘Upside Down’ gingko which is considered to be the largest and oldest tree in Tokyo.Gingko in Zenpuku-jiIn spring the temple is an attractive place for busy locals who don’t have time for a full-blown hanami.Zenpuku-jiZenpuku-ji

Address: Tokyo, Minato, Azabu-Juban 1-6-21

Sokei-ji temple

This little temple is not popular at all and there fore is a quiet and cozy place for cherry blossom viewing. One of the 47 ronin, Terasaka, was buried here.Sokeiji TempleSokeiji Temple

Address: Tokyo, Minato, Minami-Azabu, 2-9-22

Aoyama Cemetery

Not only the Cemetery is historically important, it is also a popular place for cherry blossom viewing.Aoyama Cemetery

At daytime it is rather crowded only on weekends. My personal recommendation is to visit on weekdays, and after dawn (the latter case is only if you don’t feel scared at the cemeteries or have a significant other to hold your hand). If you like that kind of attractions, you can examine the tombstones as well.Aoyama CemeteryAddress: Tokyo, Minato, Aoyama 2-33

The National Art Center, Tokyo

An alternative to drinking pink champagne in Tokyo Midtown or having a picnic at Hinoki-cho Park is to walk towards the National Art Center. Do not enter the gate (it is usually open from 10 AM to 6 PM), turn left and enter the garden between the Center and the National Graduate Institute for Police Studies.Roppongi Sakura

Address: Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi 7-22-2

Article by Olga Kaneda

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