If you’re in Tokyo, take a day to immerse yourself in the Edo period atmosphere during one of these events while enjoying the cherry blossoms.

This year marked the earliest start to sakura season in Tokyo for the third year in a row. With blossoms at their peak right around now, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy some flower viewing in the Monzen-Nakacho area of Tokyo’s Fukagawa district, a place still home to plenty of traditional Edo period (1603-1868) scenery as well as this year’s 19th Annual Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival from March 18 through April 2. Spanning the Oyoko River for 1.3 kilometers (0.81 miles), the branches of approximately 270 Somei Yoshino cherry trees hang close to the water, offering gorgeous views of springtime in Japan’s capital.

▼ Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival poster

In addition to simply admiring the blossoms, festivalgoers can also enjoy a jam-packed event schedule staggered on different days at different times for the duration of the festival. Using the below schedule as reference, we’ve compiled the major individual event information to help you plan your visit. 

▼ Vertical column: Dates, Horizontal row: Individual events

Event Schedule (events are listed in order from left to right on the above chart)

Traditional Japanese-style boat rides
Saturdays and Sundays, plus March 21
Enjoy a leisurely ride down the river in a small boat steered by an oarsman.

Twilight sakura live music (“sakuraibu,” a combination of “sakura” and “live”)

March 25 & 26: 4:45 p.m.-6:15 p.m.
The Fukagawa Canoe Club will host a live stage on top of the Kurofune Boat Platform. Local amateur jazz bands will be the primary performers. Note: you can also enjoy LED light illuminations of the cherry trees every night from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

Joruri (narrative song) music on boats

March 19, 26, and April 2: 1-2 p.m.
Evoke even more of an Edo feel while on your boat ride by being serenaded by shamisen and traditional narrative songs.

Engine-powered boat rides

Every day for the duration of the festival plus April 3-April 9
For those who prefer a slightly faster ride, enjoy the blossoms from the convenience of a modern boat.

Ishijima Bridge rest area (flower-viewing cafe)
Saturdays and Sundays, plus March 21: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Famous stores from the area set up stalls and put on street performances. Make sure to try one of the local specialties–grilled clam skewers over rice.

Watchtower open-air cafe
March 18 & 19, 21, 25 & 26: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Relax at tables and chairs near the base of Kurofune Bridge as you soak in the festival atmosphere.

Kurofune Bridge to Ishijima Bridge walking path sakura gallery

March 18 & 19, 21, 25 & 26: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Walk in a sakura tunnel next to the river as petals float down like snow.

Botancho Shoeikai (flower-viewing market)

March 26: 10 a.m.-3 p.m
For one day only, enjoy shopping at displays set up by artisanal shops in the Botancho area near Tomoe Bridge. They often sell out. There will also be a performance stage.

● Fukagawa Wood Festival: Fukagawa Park
The 福川Wood Fes

March 25: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., March 26: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Held at one of Tokyo’s oldest public parks, this event celebrating trees is suitable for families with small children. Play on a wooden playground, take part in workshops about wood, and buy wooden products.

● Naritasan Fukagawa Fudodo walking guides

Every day for the duration of the festival: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Learn more about this Buddhist temple and its fire rituals with sutra chanting and taiko drumming as well as the local area.

● Indonesian dance and music

April 2: 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m., 1:30-2 p.m.
Also for one day only, the Fukagawa Barong Club will put on spectacular Balinese dances and a gamelan (traditional Indonesian music ensemble) performance at Tomioka Hachiman Shrine. Kids can also take part in barong dancing workshops.

● Viewing of the Meijimaru (sailing ship)

March 18, 25, 26, April 1: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Japan’s oldest surviving iron ship now lives on as an Important Cultural Property and museum at one campus of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. It’s most famous for embarking on an imperial tour of Tohoku and Hokkaido in 1876 with Emperor Meiji on board.

In addition to everything listed above, the Koto Furuishiba Cultural Center will offer introductory exhibits for Japanese film director Yasujiru Ozu (1903-1963), who was born in the Fukagawa district.

If the Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival has whetted your appetite for even more cherry blossoms, check out these six sakura travel luxuries throughout Japan for some additional springtime adventures.

Festival information
Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival / お江戸深川さくらまつり
Venue: Tokyo-to, Koto-ku, Monzen-Nakacho Station Oyoko River area
Oyoko River cherry trees: Renpei Bridge to Higashi-Tomi Bridge
March 18-April 2 (in the case of rainy or stormy weather, please check the event website for updated information)
Event website

Source, images: PR Times
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