Spring is the perfect time for a city break. Cities in spring are full of building excitement, blossoming flowers, and people filling the parks and streets to enjoy the longed-for warmth of the sun. New York and Tokyo are two incredible cities that are top of my list to visit at this time of year.
From cherry blossoms, and park picnics to festivals and street markets, both these cities will breathe new life into any visitor. So how do these two places compare?
Scenery / Activities
Tokyo and New York are exciting and bustling cities that grow even more lively in Spring. While New York is loud and proud and full of character, Tokyo has a serene sense of calculated efficiency despite being the world’s most populated metropolis.
Visiting Tokyo in Spring means experiencing the beauty of the Sakura (cherry blossoms), which line the streets, rivers, and parks, and cover the pavements in a dusting of pink petals. New York’s streets also bloom brightly this time of year, with cherry blossoms at the Botanic Gardens and flowers budding out of colourful beds along every street.
Enjoy a picnic in Central Park in New York or take a sunny stroll across the High Line. In Tokyo, wander through Ueno Park under the canopy of over 1,000 cherry trees.
Ueno Park is also home to a string of Tokyo’s best museums including the Tokyo National Museum as well as strikingly beautiful temples, shrines, and lotus ponds.
Nezu Museum is a wonderful place to explore Japanese Heritage treasures, after a stroll through the impeccable gardens.
Meanwhile the Museum of Modern Art in New York is a must-visit for art lovers, where an expansive collection of works by artistic visionaries will keep your creative eye satisfied. The Cloisters is a fascinating museum dedicated solely to the architecture of the Middle Ages, and its location over the Hudson River makes it an exceptional place to visit in Spring.
Immerse yourself in the bustle of the city in New York’s Time Square or experience the epitome of impeccably organised chaos at the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.
Both cities have immaculate subway lines that can take you anywhere you need to go, though Japan’s metro is renowned both for its cleanliness and timeliness.
Both Japan and New York are exciting metropolises, filled with people, attractions, and beautiful green spaces. Tokyo wins this round for me with a score of 9.5/10, for its iconic cherry blossoms, and impressive cleanliness, and New York just behind with 9/10 for unbeatable museums and lively energy.
Food and Restaurants
Tokyo and New York both have thriving and exciting food scenes, offering everything from tasty cheap eats to Michelin-Starred dining.
Tokyo is a city drenched in Michelin-Stars, and it’s no wonder, when Japanese cuisine has a sharp focus on quality over quantity. Though while its high-end haunts often steal the show, Tokyo’s cheap eats serve up just as much flavour.
Eat market-fresh sushi and drink beer for breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market. For something special, Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin serves excellent Italian dishes made with Japanese produce or book a seat at the chef’s table at Hakkoku, for an opulent omakase experience.
Meanwhile New York is a city of big, bold flavours, and innovative eateries, with something to suit every taste. Try the tacos from one of the city’s iconic birria trucks for something, quick, affordable, and tasty. Enjoy a New York style pizza slice from Mamas Too! or nibble your way through the dim sum spots of China Town. For a real treat, enjoy dinner at Kochi where the Korean style tasting menu will prove its Michelin-Starred worth.
Tokyo wins this round for me with 10/10 for its impressive high-end restaurants, and affordable yet sumptuous eateries. New York puts up a worthy fight with 9.5/10 with an option for every kind of craving.
Both cities have fantastic nightlife scenes with plenty of options for after-hours enjoyment. From cool cocktail bars and sake spots to buzzing bars and happening nightclubs, there’s so much to do in both cities at night.
Shibuya is Tokyo’s most popular nightlife destination. Sip unique cocktails at Bar Ishinohana, whose original serves won’t be found anywhere else in the city! Immerse yourself in the world of sake at the all-you-can-drink Tsubo no Naka or dance the night away at AgeHa.
Experience one of New York’s most bustling bars at Moxy Times Square. Pick a drink from the extensive cocktail menu and enjoy stunning views of the Manhattan skyline at this rooftop bar.
For something laid back, head to one of the city’s many speakeasies or wine bars, and while away the evening with a large glass of wine.
New York wins this round for me with 9/10, and Tokyo 8/10. Tokyo’s nightlife is colourful and exciting, but New York just has it all.
Both cities have an array of accommodation options spread across the city. With everything from boutique boltholes to high-end hotels, Tokyo and New York have a competitive selection for every kind of stay.
Enjoy Empire State Building views at the former hat factory and tearoom, the Refinery Hotel. Now a luxury hotel with chic décor, comfortable rooms and a prime location make it a fantastic choice.
For a beautiful boutique stay, book a room at Moxy NYC Chelsea where guests will find cool and quirky interiors and a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge.
In Tokyo The Peninsula Tokyo is an opulent option for classic luxury, while the Amman is an oasis of zen wellness, boasting sleek minimalist interiors, and Japanese Heritage design. Claska is one of Tokyo’s first design hotels, and a hipster haven. Enjoy comfortable rooms, modern interiors, and a friendly atmosphere in an off-the-grid location. Don’t worry, they offer complimentary bicycles to help you get around!
Tokyo’s hotels are stunning from the design to the service, whilst New York has a few more options for every kind of budget. They come out equal in this round for me with a score of 9/10.
So which city comes out on top for a holiday this Spring? When it comes to numbers, these two cities tie with a final score of 9.1/10. The numbers don’t lie, these two cities are fabulous destinations, and ones I would recommend visiting at every time of year. If I had to pick one for spring, the spectacle of Tokyo’s cherry blossoms, is a sight to behold, while New York warms up more towards summer. Experience both and you won’t be disappointed!