When one thinks of the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms (sakura) called “hanami,” some places which come to mind are Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Sumida Park, Sankeien Garden, Kenrokuen, Arashiyama or even Matsuyama Castle. However, did you know that you can enjoy the cherry blossoms right in the middle of the concrete, urban jungle known as Roppongi Hills?
At best, Roppongi Hills can be called a city within in city, located at the heart of Tokyo’s Roppongi District. It is a building complex containing countless offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, a hotel, art museum and even an observation deck. And tucked behind the 780 foot Mori Tower and the Asahi TV building, you will find a small green oasis known as Mohri Garden, designed in the style of a traditional Japanese landscape garden bringing a certain calmness to Roppongi Hills.
Between late March and early April residents and tourists flock to the park to view the blooming cherry trees. In addition to the sakura trees, the garden’s 4,300 square meters is nicely landscaped with flower beds, a pond, lily pads and benches placed at strategic viewpoints. The park also features a gold heart sculpture known as Kin no Kokoro (Golden Heart) by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel.
The garden was named after the astronaut, Dr. Mamoru Mohri. The pond located in the center of the garden contains a type of small fish known as medaka. They are the descendants of the fish Dr. Mohri took with him to space.
The cherry trees are lit up at night to create an entirely different atmosphere in which to view the cherry blossoms. This spring, the hanami experience was further enhanced with teamLab’s Crystal Fireworks. teamLab is a technology company comprised of programmers, engineers, animators, artists, and graphic designers who designed a “virtual fireworks” display utilized at Mohri Garden. The three dimensional fireworks were made up of crystal lights which visitors could set off using their smartphones.
The garden is open daily from 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM and there is no admission charge. There are several ways in which to reach the garden, the closest being via the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, exit at Roppongi Station. Alternatively, you can take the Toei Subway (Oedo Line), exit at Roppongi Station. The garden is 4 minutes on foot from this point.
Address: 6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo