27
Apr 16

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Date: 29th March 2015

After a quick visit to the Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden, I was now going to visit Shinjuku Gyoen (gyoen = garden), which is one of the best venues in Tokyo to view cherry blossoms. I took the train to Shinjuku-gyoemmae station, took exit 2 and made my way to the Okido entrance — of of many entrances to the garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen neighbourhood Tokyo Japan

The neighbourhood I was in was quite nice

Shinjuku Gyoen entrance Tokyo Japan

There was an entry fee of ¥200 (₹119/$1.8/€1.5)

Shinjuku gyoen glasshouse Tokyo Japan

There’s a glasshouse here. I would check it out later.

Shinjuku Gyoen hanami season Tokyo Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen is the largest public garden in Tokyo city

Large pink sakura tree Tokyo Japan

The reason why Shinjuku Gyoen is very popular for cherry blossoms is quite evident early on

Pink sakura tree Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

The selfie sticks were out in full force today

Shinjuku Gyoen in hanami Tokyo Japan

It was beautiful just walking around here

Child picking cherry blossom petals Japan

Kids all over the place were seen picking up petals

Pink sakura flower Hanami season Tokyo

Shades of pink were a more common sight

Picnic at Shinjuku Gyoen panorama

A panorama of the large ground here where many had set up picnic mats and were enjoying drinks and snacks

Large sakura tree Shinjuku Gyoen

It’s a beautiful setting to have a picnic anyway

Varieties of sakura cherry blossoms

Apparently there were more varieties of cherry blossoms besides my knowledge of “pink sakura” and “white sakura”

Glasshouse Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo Japan

I decided to quickly check out the glasshouse

Inside glasshouse Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

There is no separate entry fee for the glasshouse

Flowers glasshouse Tokyo Japan

The glasshouse was filled with a few exotic flowers

Echinocactus Shinjuku Gyoen glasshouse

And some plants which otherwise would not grow in Japan’s climate

Glasshouse interiors Shinjuku Japan

The glasshouse isn’t very big

Walkway glasshouse Shinjuku Tokyo

So I made my way back out

Greenhouses Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

There were more greenhouses outside but off-limits to visitors

Portable toilets Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

Colour-coordinated portable toilets. Or ‘sexist’ toilets according to some.

Sakura trees Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

Back to all the beautiful sakura all around

Picnic around sakura tree Shinjuku Gyoen

This sakura tree was very popular for photos, because it was quite low

Mithun white sakura tree Tokyo

I only had a brief few seconds to get a photo taken without anybody else in the frame

Sakura tree Shinjuku Gyoen crowds

You’d think I would have taken enough photos of the sakura by now

Kid bridge sakura tree Japan

But wherever I walked, there was some frame or sight that just had to be captured on camera

Shinjuku Gyoen lake Tokyo Japan

Photographers Shinjuku Gyoen hanami season

Amateur and professional photographers were out in full force

Shinjuku Gyoen cherry blossom lake Japan

Man painting shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

It’s not just photographers who were making the most of the beauty all around

Shinjuku Gyoen lake bridge panorama

Vistors bench Shinjuku Gyoen hanami season

Shinjuku garden lake Tokyo Japan

I could just sit here all day and take in the views… if only it wasn’t cold and all grey

Sakura flower trees Hanami Shinjuku

A little sunlight would have made the colours pop a bit more

Large cherry blossom tree Shinjuku garden

I walked around a bit more

Cherry blossoms in hanami season Japan

I imagined what it would be like, to be a bird or a butterfly, and see the cherry blossoms in a different light

Small bird cherry blossom tree Japan

Enjoy sights of spring little birdie!

Cherry blossom tree Shinjuku garden Tokyo

Many of these trees are decades old

Big sakura Shinjuku garden during Hanami

You don’t get much time, the full sakura bloom only lasts about a week or two

Kimono girl posing sakura Japan

So everybody makes the most of it and get their special photos taken

Couples Shinjuku Gyoen in spring

Mirror lake reflection Shinjuku garden

It was time to head back out to the concrete jungle

Dead trees Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

What are these trees?

Line of trees Shinjuku garden Tokyo

There was an entire row of them

Lawn Shinjuku garden Tokyo Japan

I headed back

Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo garden lake

Even on the way out I couldn’t help but take some more photos

Reflection in water Shinjuku Gyoen Japan

Pink sakura reflection Shinjuku Gyoen bridge

Seriously — sakura sighting in Japan is like no other

Shinjuku Gyoen is undoubtedly one of the best places to come and soak in a rich cheer blossom sighting. I’m glad I got to experience it at full bloom, even if the sun was shy today. Paying 200 yen is well worth the price of admission. Ueno Park, where I returned to the next day, is also amazing so look forward to that post.

Okido gate Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

I went out the same gate

Shinjuku Gyoemmae road Tokyo

Fairly residential area

Comodo kitchen Shinjuku street Tokyo

It was well past lunchtime and I wondered where to eat

Curry naan restaurant Tokyo

There was this corner store called Curry-Naan. I didn’t plan on having Indian food but the thought of having hot, familiar taste in this cold weather tempted me to go inside.

Inside curry naan restaurant Shinjuku

The place was really small. Three tables and the rest were counter seats, where I sat down. One of the tables was occupied by a group of Malayalis. What are the odds!

Curry naan plate Shinjuku eatery

A single naan with a little chicken kheema curry and lassi for dessert cost ¥730 (₹435/$6.5/€5.8)

All said and done, my tummy felt satisfied and I waited for the drizzle to subside before I walked to the subway station. Next stop: Harajuku. Part two of four posts on this one day is complete!

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and exploring Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku — views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo — and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time


16
Apr 16

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Date: 29th March 2015

Yesterday was a long but fruitful day of sightseeing that began at Denboin garden, a stroll by the banks of Sumida river before going to Odaiba to see a giant Gundam robot. Today was going to be just as packed a day. First off, more cherry blossom sightings.

I took the train Asakusa to Otemachi station. Took exit C13b and headed to the Tokyo Imperial Palace East garden. I could not do a tour of the Imperial Palace because that has to be booked in advance, so I just came to see the gardens.

Palace hotel Tokyo Japan

It was a gloomy day, which is never good for photographing anything colourful

Road closed for cycling Tokyo Japan

This was nice. They closed the road for traffic and only opened it for cyclists. Must a regular Sunday affair in these parts.

Sakura tree lake Imperial Palace Tokyo

The sakura trees were in bloom even outside the palace grounds

Tokyo Imperial palace gate Japan

There was no entry fee

Tokyo Imperial Palace stonewalls Japan

The Imperial Palace has these ancient stonewalls made of large blocks of solid stone

Inside Tokyo Imperial palace grounds

It was a bit of a walk to get the East Gardens

Tokyo Imperial gardens panorama Japan

There are other gardens in the castle complex, but the East Garden is the only one open to the public throughout the year

Grass Tokyo Imperial garden panorama

I really wished it was sunnier

Tokyo Imperial garden panorama Japan

It’s a vast area but not choc full of different varieties of plants and trees

Pink sakura tree Imperial garden Tokyo

Everyone was here to see the sakura trees anyway

Pink sakura flower tree Imperial Garden

The cherry blossom flowers seem to mostly be in shades of pink…

White sakura tree Imperial garden Tokyo

Or white

White sakura tree Tokyo Imperial garden-tokyo

Took this shot on my Sony Xperia Z1 phone

White sakura cloudy sky Tokyo

Sadly today, even the skies were white. See if you can spot the sun.

Stone observation point Imperial garden

I walked up that observation point

Tokyo view imperial palace east garden

Beyond these ancient walls lies modern Tokyo

Tokyo Imperial east garden lawn Japan

I didn’t linger for long. I had to get to Shinjuku Gyoen after this, which is one of the best venues for sakura sightseeing

Sakura tree petals fallen down

Petals were falling down, so I wonder how long a full bloom lasts

White sakura tree Imperial Garden Japan

There were more cherry blossom trees on the way out

The entire Imperial Palace complex is like an island surrounded by a stream of water

The entire Imperial Palace complex is like an island surrounded by a stream of water

Tokyo roads from pedestrian walkway

I walked around Otemachi

Otemachi buildings Tokyo Japan

Otemachi is a major office district and where many of Japan’s top newspaper publishers are based

Pink cherry blossom tree Tokyo streets

I headed back to Otemachi station

From Otemachi station, it’s easy to get to Shinjuku Gyoen without transferring between stations. Shinjukugyoen-Mae station is the closest to the garden (fare was ¥200) and it’s on the Marunouchi Line. All the beautiful sakura sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen will be in a separate post — and trust me — it’s a really good one!

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and exploring Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku — views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo — and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time


07
Apr 16

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Date: 28th March 2015

After enjoying the relaxing walk along Sumida river and capturing the cherry blossom trees in bloom, I was now going to get on a boat to Odaiba — a major shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo Bay.

Sumida river boat ticket number card

I paid ¥1310 (₹750/$11.5/€10) for my one way journey to Odaiba

Sumida river boat

My boat had arrived

Inside Sumida tour boat Tokyo

I sat inside for a while

Asahi golden building Tokyo Japan

That golden building belonging to Asahi breweries is meant to resemble a beer mug

Asahi building Sumida river Tokyo

Asahi Beer Hall with the “golden turd” on top

Sumida river boat tour Tokyo

It didn’t take me long to go up to the top of the boat

Tourists boat tour Sumida river Tokyo

Seemed like the majority of the passengers chose not to sit down below

Office building Sumida river Tokyo

Passed many interesting looking buildings along the way

Continue reading “Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall” »

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