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The Cherry Blossom Running Guide – 3 Great Cities

Mark Lowenstein
Written by Mark Lowenstein

The Cherry Blossoms are about to bloom! Here is the Cherry Blossom Running Guide to help you figure out the best places to see it all from the road.


The National Park Service announced their first peak bloom prediction at a press conference on the morning of March 1. They predict that the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. will reach peak bloom between March 14 and 17, 2017.

The Cherry Blossom Running Guide

Washington DC

Running in Washington, D.C. is a treat at nearly any time of year. The National Mall and Tidal Basin are among the most unique spots for running in the United States, and this walkable city is also graced by a fabulous network of bike and running paths. Running at the peak of Cherry Blossom season is a special treat, however. The best route is the ‘Memorial Run’, starting at the Washington Monument and heading out to the Tidal Basin. Cherry Trees line the area near the Jefferson Memorial. Another path lined with cherry blossoms is to extend the Tidal Basin run into Potomac Park. It’s ~2 miles one way from the Jefferson Memorial, along the trails paralleling Ohio Dr. to Haines Point. See our Washington, D.C. running guide for full details.

Two other great cities for cherry blossom runs are Tokyo and Beijing.


The 2017 cherry blossom forecast for Tokyo is for first blossom around March 22 and peak between March 30 and April 7. Cherry trees are thought to be native to the Himalayas. They are revered and beautifully cared for in Japan. Cherry blossom festivals abound in season. Fortunately for runners, some of the most popular running routes in Tokyo incorporate lovely, cherry tree lined paths. My recommendations are below. And here’s a link to our Tokyo Running Guide.

  • Imperial Palace. 3.1 mile loop around. MAP
  • Akasaka Palace. Lovely trees along parts of this 2.1 mile loop. Combine with Yoyogi Park 1 mile to the west, or Imperial Palace loop, 1/2-mile to the east. MAP
  • Koganei Park. Lovely park in Tokyo’s western suburbs, with a garden containing 2,000 cherry trees. Marked 5k loop, part of it paths lined with cherry trees. For a longer run, combine with a section of the Tamagawa Josui canal trail, just to the south. Park info and map.
  • Meguro River. Some 800 cherry trees line this 4k path along the Meguro River. Accessible from Meguro, Ebisu, Gotanda, and Osaki stations. There are plenty of shops and restaurants along the way, making the overall atmosphere here very pleasant.


The Beijing cherry blossoms tend to peak between late March and early April. Cherry Garden in Yuyuantan Park (Jade Lake Park) is famous for its cherry blossoms. In the spring of 1973, 180 cherry trees were sent as gifts from Japan and were planted in the garden. Later on, more and more cherry trees were cultivated here. Today the garden has been the home for over 3,000 cherry trees. Tourists pour into the garden to enjoy the beautiful flowers. Metasequoias and bamboos flourish in the garden, making Cherry Garden a wonderful place even when cherry blossoms are not in bloom. Liuchun Garden is another treat in this park. Here’s our Yuyuantan Park running guide, including a suggested 4-mile route.

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About the author

Mark Lowenstein

Mark Lowenstein

Mark Lowenstein is Chief Running Officer of Great Runs, the ultimate guide for travelers who run and runners who travel. A lifelong recreational runner, he has authored several running books, including Great Runs in Boston.
Follow along with him on Twitter @greatruns

1 Comment

  • There is also a fantastic Cherry Blossom run in Branch Brook Park in Newark NJ. A challenging 10K