Sakura (桜)

Night Cherry Blossom Viewing at Naka-Meguro River「中目黒桜まつり」

Due to my tight schedule and the fact that the cherry blossoms weren’t going to last long, I decided to join the locals and enjoy cherry blossom viewing after dark!

I couldn’t get on the earlier bus from the airport and thus only arrived at my hotel in Tokyo at about 6pm. Dropped my bags, freshened up a little and immediately headed off to the Naka-Meguro「中目黒」 area…

One thing I’ve learnt from my trips to Japan is that typically during festivals or similar events, if you don’t know where the festival venue is, just follow the crowd when you arrive at the train station and most of the time, you’ll definitely end up at the right place (or look out for the festival banners/flags placed along the streets). True enough, we arrived at side of the river in no time. ^_^

There was a lightup between 7pm-9pm and in typical festival setting, street vendors lined the walkways along both sides of the river.

We decided to admire the flowers first before having dinner.

However, due to the cold weather (about 11 degrees celsius), we soon got hungry and decided to look for something to eat along the way…

This shop caught my eye as it sold steamed oysters and some sparkling drinks.

We ordered a strawberry sparkling and a mixed fruit sparkling and both turned out to be sweet alcoholic drinks containing fresh fruit! Mmm…they were delicious and a good accompaniment to the fresh plump oysters!!

The stall adjacent to it seemed quite popular with the crowds too and one of the items they were selling was clam chowder and I thought some hot soup would be good to warm the tummy – well, it turned out that I ordered the last bowl! The soup was creamy and had a generous serving of clams and potatoes.

By the time we finished snacking, the lanterns were switched off but people were still out and about taking selfies or wefies with the sakura!

Here’s a short video clip which I took – policemen were directing the traffic as the roads weren’t closed and there were many jaywalkers! LOL….

If you happen to visit Tokyo during the sakura season, do note that this is one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in the city (I personally think it probably looks nicer during the day but I didn’t have time to come back to check it out during daylight hours).

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Categories: Festivals (Matsuri), Japan, Sakura (桜), Tokyo (東京), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sakura in Shikoku: Ritsurin Koen Park「栗林公園」

The Ritsurin Koen Park (or Ritsurin Garden) is one of the most famous and most beautiful historical gardens in Japan.

Unfortunately, we only had about one hour at this place as it was one of the stops included in our tour package. Gosh…so much ground to cover and so little time!!

A weeping cherry tree!

Hyakkoku matsu (black pine tree)

Lovely koi in the pond….

Okedoinotaki (waterfall) with sakura

Kansuichi Pond

Spotted this bridge which was a sharp contrast to its surroundings.

Engetsu-kyo Bridge (view from the other side of the South Pond)

Address:
Ritsurin Koen Park「栗林公園」
〒760-0073 香川県高松市栗林町1丁目20番16号
[Map]

Open: Daily.
Free Admission Days: January 1 (New Year’s Day), March 16 (Opening Day Anniversary)

Opening Hours:
December, January: 7am-5pm
February: 7am-5:30pm
March: 6:30am-6pm
April, May, September: 5:30am-6:30pm
June, July, August: 5:30am-7:00pm
October: 6:00am-5:30pm
November: 6:30am-5:00pm

Admission Fee:
¥410/adult (Group of 20 or more: ¥320)
¥170/child (Group of 20 or more: ¥140)
Ticket Booklet: ¥4,100 for 11 tickets
Annual Pass for one person: ¥2,570
Annual Pass for up to three persons: ¥5,140

Getting There by Public Transport:
From JR Takamatsu Station – 7 min. by car
From JR Ritsurin Station – 20 min. walk
From JR Ritsurin Koen Kitaguchi Station – 3 min. walk
From Kotoden Ritsurin Koen Station – 10 min. walk
From Kotoden Ritsurin Koen Mae Bus Stop – 1 min. walk
From Highway Express Ritsurin Koen Mae Bus Stop – right by garden entrance

You can take the local bus from the JR Takamatsu Station Bus Terminal「JR高松駅バスターミナル」and alight at Ritsurin Koen Mae「栗林公園前」

The following buses will stop at the Ritsurin Koen Mae「栗林公園前」 bus stop:
  【33 栗林公園・香川中央高校】
  【35 栗林公園・日生ニュータウン】
  【41 栗林公園・由佐・高松空港】
  【43 栗林公園・由佐・岩崎】
  【47 栗林公園・御厩・県立プール】
  【51 栗林公園・仏生山・岩崎】
  【53 栗林公園・塩江】

Categories: Japan, Sakura (桜), Shikoku (四国), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sakura in Tokyo: Chidorigafuchi「千鳥が淵」

Many of the locals recommended this place for sakura viewing. Initially I was puzzled by the name as I had never heard of Chidorigafuchi「千鳥が淵」 and was wondering where this was, but I later found out that it’s actually one of the moats of the Imperial Palace.

Thus, I tried to make my way there and had exited from the subway station, but ended up following the crowds to get to the sakura viewing site (heh heh… was assuming that everyone was there for the cherry blossoms – but I was right!) and the sight which greeted me just took my breath away!!

Boats may be hired for rides around the moat.

Had a wander around and took this shot of the sakura with one of the gates to the palace.

Here’s a picture that I took under sakura trees.

Even the birds were enjoying the flowers! (^o^)

This is definitely one of the best spots to admire the cherry blossoms in Tokyo!


Getting there by the Tokyo Subway:
Tokyo Metro Kudanshita Station – 5 min. from Exit 2 – Toei Shinjuku Line, Metro Hanzomon Line, Metro Tozai Line
Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Station – 5 min. from Exit 5 – Hanzomon Line

[Map]

Categories: Japan, Sakura (桜), Tokyo (東京), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sakura in Tokyo: Ueno Park (上野公園)

Apparently Ueno Park is a hotspot for sakura viewing – I’ve never seen so many people congregating in one place just to admire flowers!!

It was too crowded to try to get a picture with me in it without having other strangers in my photo, so here are some of the pictures which I took….

There were stalls which were selling food, so you can buy something to eat and then find a spot to sit and enjoy the flowers! ^_^


Getting there by train:
JR Ueno Station via the “Ueno Koen” exit (“koen” means “park”)
Ueno Station is on the Ginza Subway Line, the Hibiya Subway Line, the JR Yamanote Line, the JR Joban Line and the JR Keihin Tohoku Line.
Another alternative is the Keisei Ueno Station is on the Keisei Lines 1 and 2.

Access:
2 min walk from Keisei Ueno Station
2 min walk from Ueno Station on JR and Subway Ginza Line

[Map]

Categories: Japan, Sakura (桜), Tokyo (東京), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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