Tourists and residents packed Tokyo's top cherry blossom spots on Thursday to enjoy the full bloom that has arrived in the capital later than usual this year because of cold weather.

The elegant dark branches bursting with pink and white flowers — known as sakura in Japanese — spilled over the moat of the Imperial Palace, where people gathered to snap photos or simply take in the view.

"Cherry blossoms are so symbolic and make everything around you feel joyful and beautiful," Michitaka Saito, 68, said.