One of Tokyo’s most scenic cherry blossom viewing spots has a lot more to offer than just space for a picnic!

It’s official — sakura season is well and truly here in Japan, and now that the government in Tokyo has decided that cherry blossom parties are good to go again, we can expect to see hoards of people setting up picnics underneath the trees, enjoying the sakura’s famous beauty.

And while there are plenty of great spots to check out, Tokyo’s Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival not only lets you view around 270 beautiful sakura trees, all situated along the banks of the Oyokogawa River, but lets you view them from the comfort of an old-fashioned river boat.

The row of trees stretches for around 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles) along the river, and are famous for their low hanging branches, which dangle close to the water’s surface. The type of trees seen are Somei Yoshino cherry blossom trees, which were cultivated during the Edo period (1603-1867) in Tokyo.

But it’s not only the trees that give off an Edo vibe — visitors can also make their way down the river on an old-fashioned river boat to really feel like they’ve taken a trip back in time. With the boatman steering the ship with an oar, and nearby boats carrying staff playing the shamisen (a traditional Japanese string instrument), this is certainly a unique way to experience the sakura this year.

▼ More modern, engine-powered boats are also available.

The festival also has a lot of other things on offer — from 5:00p.m. to 10:00p.m., the cherry blossom trees will light up, making for a spectacular night-time view.

There will be special events held intermittently over the festival’s two-week time period, including Hanami Cafe, a pop-up street vendor area that will be selling local specialties like Fukagawa rice and grilled scallion skewers.

There will also be a local performance by the Fukagawa Canoe Club, jazz music played by a local band, and the fence along the Oyokogawa River will be lined with past and present photographs of the riverside scenery. There will also be panels on the history of the river’s flood control methods.

▼ Here’s a summary of the festival from last year.

The Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival will take place this year from March 18 until April 2, but given how early the sakura have been forecast to bloom this year, it might be better to head there sooner rather than later, given how famously fleeting sakura are.

Source, images: PR Times
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