Each spring, people flock to Japan to witness Sakura trees bloom with their pink-tinge flowers. Cherry blossoms are everywhere–works of art, dessert even KitKat chocolates! Next slide: me booking a ticket and packing my bags from Bicol to Tokyo to marvel at the cherry blossoms.
Here’s what to expect if you’re traveling to Tokyo in spring:
First stop on our list is definitely Hanami, which means “looking at flowers”. They say that the sakura trees are revered in Japan not just because of their beauty, but of their cultural significance as symbols of new beginnings. Enjoy a picnic under these beauties at Ueno Park and Shinjuku Gyoen for the ultimate hanami experience.
I’ve heard of Tokyo as a city of neon lights, but I was still unprepared for the number of people crossing the street! The famous Shibuya Crossing is a blur of pedestrians and an experience in itself. We stayed in Shinjuku where the night life is never boring and you’ll see lots of people enjoying a good meal and drinks after office.
Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the whole city at Tokyo Sky Tree or the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for its observation decks.
Getting around the city is part of the fun in Tokyo where tourists will definitely get lost. A city map is a must but I highly recommend renting a pocket Wi-Fi. Google Maps and Hyperdia is extremely accurate, even showing when trains arrive and depart.
From hoarding late night snacks at Lawson, to falling in line at 10pm for an amazing bowl of ramen, Japanese food is always the highlight of every trip. Who knew ramen and fried chicken is a perfect match? Crepes, ¥100 sushi, roasted black sesame ice cream and seafood grilled in a shell at Tsukiji Fish Market are just the beginning of your gastronomic adventure.
Take time to read up on Japanese etiquette while eating. I’ve read that it is impolite to be eating or drinking while walking in some locations and finishing a meal to the last grain of rice is proper dining etiquette.
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck at pasalubong for your loved ones, hit up Don Quijote and various ¥100 stores like Daiso. You’ll go crazy at all the items! Also yes, I hoarded Royce chocolates and Tokyo Banana mostly for me.
Whether you’re visiting for the cherry blossoms or for the anime, with gardens, lots of nightlife, good food and friendly locals, Tokyo is an incredible city – one worth visiting in any season.