It may sound cheesy, but cherry blossoms time in Tokyo is my favourite. These lightly pink clouds of petals always remind me of the very day in March of 2013 when I landed in Tokyo for the first time. I took the orange Limousine bus from the Narita airport. In the bus, exhausted after the sleepless night on the plane I closed my eyes. When I opened them, I realised that the bus was already silently sliding through the city, which looked like nowhere else I’ve ever been.
I felt a jolt of excitement when I saw all the futuristic skyscrapers and the curvy multi-storey tangles of the highway. At some point the bus was passing by a large park with a big pond framed by enormously big blooming trees. There were many tiny row- and pedal-boats in the pond. The whole looked like a neatly-drawn idyllic picture from some anime movie. This memory is still very vivid and fresh in my mind. I am still not sure, which park in Tokyo it was, but since then I visited a number of places looking like that in Tokyo. Today I want to show you one of them.
Located in the district of Chiyoda, this is actually not a park but a long sidewalk along a moat surrounding the territory of Imperial Palace. The place is well-known as one of the best viewing spots for cherry blossoms. If you are patient enough and do not mind spending hours in line, make sure to rent a boat in the dedicated place. I have heard it could be an absolutely amazing experience. Unfortunately, we were short in time, and did not rent one ourselves, but I hope we will get to do it someday.
Actually the boat rental is open from March to November, but of course the blooming of sakura trees brings the whole experience to the next level.
Food is an important component of the Japanese culture, hence, hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is always accompanied with eating and drinking. Haven’t brought your own bento? No worries! You can always grab something from a street food stall.
At the same day we have also planned to visit the Yasukuni Shrine. It is a Shinto shrine founded by Emperor Meiji in 1869 as a commemoration for the war victims who died serving Japan. It is another popular tourist spot, but somehow, despite the fact that during our two longer stays in Tokyo we were working in the area close by, we have never visited it before.
Sergio decided to have signed his goshuincho which he bought in Nara.
While he was waiting in line to get the signature, I was examining the ema stand. I already mentioned the tradition of hanging ema in this post.
There were also cherry trees on the shrine grounds. These were of a different kind, with pink blossoms.
Back to Chidorigafuchi
We left the shrine grounds and headed back towards the Chidorigafuchi walkway.
The blooming trees looked even dreamier in the rays of the setting sun. The place became more crowded though. Sometimes it was even hard to keep walking.
Here, it was supposed to be a paragraph about our visit to the Imperial Gardens, but to tell you the truth, we failed to get there on that time. It was 4PM and we did not check in advance until what time the place is open… Well, a lesson learnt!
So, instead we had a short coffee-break in one of the shops at the Takebashi station. After that Sergio took a subway train to Shibuya where he was meeting with his uncle. I stayed in the Jimbocho area enjoying the book and stationery shops before meeting with my former colleagues from the institute later that evening.
Photos taken in March 2018