viewing

Crowds visit Shinjuku Gyoen for cherry blossom viewing despite the cold

crowds_trees_hanami_shinjukugyoen
今年の新宿御苑の花見は、寒い天気なのに、木が好きな人が集まっていました。

These photos are from this year’s rather cold cherry blossom season, which meant easier access to some of the best spots. I love the difference in scale between the old trees and the people they attract. I also love how prepared the city is to manage the expected crowds of tree lovers.

crowd_management_hanami

Hanami-themed highball in a can

日本に来る前に、缶入りのハイボールを見たことがありませんでした。サントリーは花見用に特別な缶を作りました。

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.

Everyday cherry blossom viewing

路地の桜も楽しいんです。

The big cherry blossom sites, including Inokashira park, Yoyogi park and Yasukuni shrine, are wonderful places for get-togethers with outdoor drinking and eating. But I also love seeing the cherry trees in full bloom while walking around the city. This old cherry tree is blooming on a small street, with the Nakano high rise telecom tower in the background.

I also love how every public school has at least one cherry tree at the entrance; the elementary school nearby has a dusty soccer field surrounded on three side by gorgeous cherries.

Aoyama ginkos

Less famous than spring cherry blossom viewing or fall maple viewing, the Aoyama ginkos draw a crowd to see the gorgeous double allée of ginkos turning bright yellow. Last weekend was probably the peak days, with just the right balance of leaves still on the trees and enough on the ground for children to toss into the air.

As dusk approached, the leaves became even paler and more luminous. It’s wonderful to see how Tokyo residents appreciate well-cared for trees and join together in public to share this seasonal moment.

The ginko tree street is officially called Icho Namiki Meijijingu Gaien. Below is an image from the Tokyo Gymnasium looking out to Gaien Nishi Dori.