|Tokyo Top Spots for Sakura and Hanami | Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival|
|Monday, 19 April 2010 13:02|
Sakura is the flowers of Japanese Cherry trees, it is also Japan's national flower. The flowering season of Sakura marks the arrival of spring! Unlike the cherry trees in other countries, Japanese cherry trees do not bear fruits. Each flowering cherry trees may last only 2 weeks. It is hard to predict the flowering season and plan your trip, but the highest probability that you would catch the sight of full blooming Sakura in Tokyo is between end of March and mid April. If you happen to arrive earlier, travel south and chances are higher. On the opposite, if one arrives in May, you may try your luck at Hokkaido. Simple rule of thumb is cherry trees at the hotter spots will flower earlier than cooler location.
The full blooming Sakura invites people to flock at the park to enjoy the spectacular sight of spring. Flower parties or Hanami is a popular custom among the Japanese and this is the time the family and friends get together to picnic, drink and socialize. At some parks like Ueno Park, paper lanterns are lit up at night for yozakura or 'Night Sakura' festival.
In Japanese tradition, the delicate beauty of cherry blossom signifies life is short and beautiful. This metaphor for the fleeting nature of life is often depicted in literature, manga, anime, film and performance. Despite of that, cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune, symbols of love and affection. It is also the most romantic season to ring a wedding bell!
Cherry blossom viewing was never in our plan for Tokyo trip but guess it was a bonus when we were greeted by a pair of flowering cherry trees at Ueno Kensei Station, right on our first day.
The following are among the top great spots in Tokyo that we visited and being rewarded with impressive view of Sakura at no cost.
1. Ueno Park - One of the most crowded public parks in Tokyo for Hanami or cherry blossom viewing. It is the home to more than 1000 cherry trees. There were easily more than two dozens of flowering cherry trees when we were there in mid March 2010; mainly single petal pink and a handful cherry trees of dark pink species. Admission: Free
2. Sumida-gawa (Sumida River) Park - Another great spot that surprised us with a tunnel of cherry blossom trees. Over 100 of sakura trees made this wonderful place their residence. Located a stone throw away from Asakusa subway station, Sumida Park sits adjacent to Sumida River. River cruise service is available to provide another perspective of Sakura contrasting the town of historic Edo. Admission: Free
3. East Garden of Imperial Palace - Our stroll at East Garden of Imperial Palace also did not let us left empty handed. There are about 30 varieties of cherry trees here. More than a dozen of them from various species colored the sight of this royal garden in the heart of Tokyo. Besides Sakura, it was also the season of flowering peony that lives here in abundance. Admission: Free
To find out more places for Hanami and best viewing season of cherry blossom in Japan, do check out here.
Direction to Ueno Park:
Board subway to Ueno Station (by Ginza Line, Hibiya Line or JR Yamanote Line), walk 100 m to Ueno Kensei Station (Narita Airport) which is next to the entrance to Ueno Park.
Direction to Sumida Park:
Board subway to Asakusa Station (by Ginza Line or Asakusa Line), walk 100 m towards river bank.
Direction to Imperial Palace:
Board subway to Tokyo Station (by JR Yamanote Line) or Otemachi (Mita Line, Chiyoda Line, Tozai Line, Marunouchi Line or Hanzomon Line) or Nijubashimae Station (Chiyoda Line) or Hibiya Station (Mita Line, Chiyoda Line, Hibiya Line). The nearest station is Nijubashimae and Hibiya which takes about 5-8 minutes. The walk from Tokyo station is about 20 minutes.
|Last Updated on Monday, 19 April 2010 14:17|
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