A pop of color in a river of black and white outfits on crowded sidewalk



That’s my photographer friend Shigeki with the bright blue cap and the antique Hasselblad film camera. It was peak day for cherry blossoms at Kudanshita.


Random guy on telephone hijacks hanami photo of hipsters with matching bicycles and tans


This sensory overload, of course, is Yoyogi Park. Thanks to Shu for introducing me to the concept of photo “hijacking,”

Mamas’ club parties at Yasukuni shrine on a weekday afternoon



Given its reputation as a place of political conflict and religious fervor, it’s a pleasant surprise to see this mamas’ club relaxing on a weekday, with giant plastic wine glasses, drinks, and strollers.

A rush of young office workers exiting the subway at Kudanshita


Exiting the Metro at Kudanshita, I was unprepared for the rush of young office workers during the first week of April, mixed with seniors heading to see Chidorigafuchi.

A few of the many groups that gather together for cherry blossom season



This year I tried to focus on the different tribes that assemble beneath the cherry trees for hanami season in Tokyo. There were some scenes I expected, and many that were surprises. In this photo of Shinjuku Gyoen, my good friend from San Francisco’s back is in the middle, with a couple on the left and cosplayers on the right.

Do these cherry blossom “souvenir” cakes look good to you?



このお花見のとき限定のお土産はおいしいでしょうか? パッケージはきれいだけれど、工場で作った味しかしないかもしれません。

An explosion of pink packaging envelopes these factory-produced cakes, available only during cherry blossom season. I would not classify this as a natural food.

Some people prefer full bloom, but I like to watch the petals fall and float off


In a pond at Shinjuku Gyoen.

Arakawa river red floodgate with cherry trees in full bloom


A Japanese engineer who had worked on the Panama Canal created this important floodgate and canal alongside the Arakawa River in the 1920s. The red paint and the cherry blossoms make it scenic as well as functional.

UPDATE: Above is the film version, which took awhile to be developed. The colors seem much richer than the digital iPhone image below.


Just before summer starts, river in Nakameguro is magical


Just before summer starts is one of my favorite seasons in Tokyo. This is the river in Nakameguro famous for its cherry trees. I already want to put my feet in the water.

Twilight cherry blossoms at Aoyama cemetery


The road through Aoyama Cemetery is lined with gorgeous old cherry trees. I went there for AQ‘s office hanami party, and on the way home I took this photo at twilight.

Cherry blossoms rising above giant buddha in Shinjuku Ni Chome temple


This temple in Shinjuku’s Ni Chome is a quiet open space in a crowded part of the city. It’s a great juxtaposition of the sacred and ordinary, nature and the built environment.

This day, the cherry tree in bloom seems to have enticed more people to enter. I am always charmed by the red cloth bibs place on buddha and ojizo statues. The bibs make me think the statues are preparing for a meal.

Hanami-themed highball in a can


I had never seen a highball, or a whiskey and soda, in a can before coming to Japan. Here Suntory has dressed up the can for cherry blossom viewing.

Mature cherry trees cross Nakameguro river. Nearly full bloom.


Nakameguro river is one of the best spots for viewing hanami. Last Friday was approximately 80%. Much family, student, friends, and co-worker public drinking and nature appreciation!

Today it’s windy and raining, so perhaps the season is already over as the petals fall fast.

Costume company has hanami party in Yoyogi Koen


A costume company had a big hanami party in Yoyogi Koen. There was a ninja, crocodile, lion, bear, rabbit, and frog.