With any weather-related forecast, the actual occurrence could be off by a few days. However, there is one place in Japan’s capital where you’re absolutely guaranteed to be able to have some sakura-themed fun on March 22, since that’s the opening date for the Sakura Chill Bar.
Located in Tokyo’s fashionable Minami Aoyama neighborhood (adjacent to the fashion districts of Harajuku and Shibuya), the Sakura Chill Bar boasts an interior like no other, with not only a faux cherry blossom tree, but a sakura pool filled with 1.2 million sakura petal replicas.
The bar’s owners say the pool is “knee-deep,” but it’s apparently deep enough that you can lie down and cover yourself with the symbols of spring.
▼ The “Chill” part of the bar’s name is also a pun, since it gets rendered in the L-less Japanese language as “chiru,” which is also the Japanese word for “flutter.”
It’s not just the décor that’s special either. In keeping with its Japanese motif, the Sakura Chill Bar specializes in sake, specifically Saga sake. A grand total of 23 different brands from the southwestern prefecture are on offer, with three-pour sampler flights, accompanied by an assortment of Saga Prefecture snacks, available for a very reasonable 1,000 yen (US$9).
▼ The Saga-grown ichigosan strawberries come highly recommended.
If you’re someone who appreciates sakura but not necessarily alcohol, have no fear. The Sakura Chill Bar also offers non-alcoholic beverages, and customers under 20 (Japan’s legal drinking age) aren’t allowed) are admitted as long as they’re in the company of someone who’s past the two-decade mark.
While a total of 23 Saga sake varieties will be offered, their availability is being split up into two stages, with the first dozen being poured between March 22 and 26, and he remaining 11 replacing them from March 27. On the plus side, that gives you an excuse to hit up the Sakura Chill Bar twice in rapid succession, as does the fact that the bar is mirroring the short-lived cherry blossoms themselves by only being open from March 22 to March 31.
Sakura Chill Bar / サクラチルバー)
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami Aoyama 3-13 (located inside Commune 2nd center)
Open 3:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m. (weekdays), 11 a.m.-9:45 p.m. (weekends)
Open March 22-March 31