sakura season

Temple bells die out.
The fragrant blossoms remain.
A perfect evening!

While the appearance of plum and peach blossoms during the past month have hinted at the changing seasons, the ephemeral cherry blossoms are now in full bloom in Tokyo, giving the sleek skyscrapers and dazzling neon some serious competition in the viewing stakes. 

A harbinger of Spring, the sakura adds seasonal daubs of pink and white to private yards, office plazas and suburban streets. More dramatically, the blossoms of the somei yoshino, shidarezakura and other trees transform the landscapes of the city’s biggest public parks and gardens.

Chuo Park - Tocho

Yesterday, mapp : : tokyo did some cherry blossom viewing at a few of Tokyo’s best locations.

Near Kudanshita (九段下) station, the banks of the north-eastern moat of the Imperial Palace-Chidorigafuchi (千鳥が淵)-become cascading pillows of petals.

chidorigafuchi blossoms

chidorigafuchi moat

chidorigafuchi boats

chidorigafuchi bank

Yesterday, university graduates were also out in force, many of the young women in gorgeous kimono and hakama, celebrating their graduation at Chidorigafuchi and the nearby Kitanomaru Park.

chidorigafuchi graduates & kimonos

chidorigafuchi kodak moments

chidorigafuchi instagram moments

The graduates weren’t the only ones getting into photography.

chidorigafuchi sakura viewing

chidorigafuchi photo frenzy

Sakura trees line Yasukuni dori, while many more color the grounds of the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. 

yasukuni dori

yasukuni dori - shrine wall

yasukuni dori - shrine wall & tree

yasukuni shrine torii

yasukuni shrine

yasukuni shrine grounds

yasukuni shrine sakura tree

Petals float to the ground in the breeze, a reminder of their fragility and ephemerality.

chidorigafuchi fallen petals

Aoyama Reien (青山霊園) – a few stops away on the Hanzomon line – is very much a reminder of the ephemerality of life. The cemetery seems an unlikely place for hanami, but its main avenues are lined with sakura trees and trees dot the grounds, making for a beautiful, contemplative experience.

aoyama reien sakura

aoyama reien avenue

aoyama reien path

aoyama reien sakura tree

West of the JR Yamanote loop line, in Nakameguro (中目黒) the mood is festive. The neighbourhood’s riverside promenade is a great place to see sakura in a street party atmosphere.

nakameguro sakura

nakameguro lanterns

nakameguro parasol

nakameguro hanami

nakameguro photo opportunities

If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, join the crowds for a hanami experience at these and other locations: Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Yoyogi Park, Inokashira Park among the best and busiest.