Jun 16

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Date: 30th March 2015

The last time I tried to visit Rikugien garden, I was too late. They weren’t allowing anymore people to queue up. This time I arrived earlier, got off at Komagome Station and rushed towards the entrance. Luckily, the lines were still open.

Line to get inside Rikugien Tokyo

But the line was long — both in front of me and behind me

Sakura tree at night Tokyo city

In the mean time, I had a sakura tree across the road to look at

It took me nearly 20 minutes to get inside. There was an entry fee of 300 yen but I was happy to finally get in this time.

Rikugien garden sakura Tokyo

These are the dates for the special viewing of the famous ‘Weeping Sakura Tree’

Inside Rikugien garden at night Tokyo

It was pitch dark with only a few lights illuminating a few trees

Trees at night Rikugien Tokyo

I had my tripod with me

Rikugi-en means “Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry” — which comes from the idea of the six elements in waka poetry, while ‘en’ (as in gyuen) means garden.

Rikugien garden benches Tokyo

Rikugien is a bigger garden but I could not see anything else in this darkness

Rikugien old sakura tree Tokyo

But practically everyone was here to see the famous weeping cherry tree (taken on my mobile)

Weeping cherry tree Rikugien garden Tokyo

So I setup my tripod and began taking photos of this 50+ year old tree

Sakura flowers weeping cherry tree Rikugien

It wasn’t easy to shoot given the lighting conditions and all the people in front of the tree but I did my best

Weeping cherry blossom tree Japan

I took many shots. I am just sharing the ones that came out well and without ant blur.

Weeping cherry tree at night Tokyo

Barely 30 minutes in and the guards were now making the announcement that the garden was closing and asked everyone to leave

Big cherry blossom tree Rikugien garden

I was among the few cameramen (and women) who were waiting for everyone to clear in front of us

Exiting Rikugien garden Tokyo night

We couldn’t linger around any longer. All of us were asked to pack up our tripods and leave the garden.

Outside Rikugien garden Tokyo Japan

And that was my Rikugien visit

Tokyo night road streetlight

It was time to head back to my hostel

Was it worth coming all the way here for just a tree? I don’t know, but the size of tree is pretty impressive. Since my Japan trip was planned to make the most of sakura season, this visit to Rikugien was just another spot in Tokyo to view cherry blossoms. After all, it’s for a limited period only.

Back at the hostel, I had a quick dinner and freshened up. I had to wake up early tomorrow. It was my last full day in Japan, and I was lucky enough to buy a Hakone pass from a fellow hostel guest who purchased the 2-day Hakone Pass and only used it for a day. I bought it off her for just 1000 yen, so I saved a few thousand yen myself! With this pass, I could use the Hakone buses, trains, cable car, and the sightseeing cruise any number of times. Super convenient! At Hakone I would also get to experience a natural onsen — another first for me. All that in the next two posts.

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

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

Jun 16

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Date: 30th March 2015

After I visited Akihabara for the second time, I then decided to head to Ueno Park. I had been there a few days ago, but I was disappointed to see that the cherry blossom trees weren’t fully in bloom. I worried I wouldn’t see it fully bloomed before leaving Japan.

Ueno park pathway Japan

At first glance, I assumed things hadn’t improved

Sakura trees Ueno park Tokyo

But as I walked closer, I could see some trees certainly had more flowers this time around

Ueno park shrine evening sun Tokyo

The evening sunlight was quite nice so I went up to the shrine to take some photos

Funny tree shape Ueno park

I wonder if they wrapped this tree’s trunks so that it stays in this shape

Ueno park in the evening

I love the sunlight between 4PM-6 PM, it’s great for photography

Sakura in full bloom Ueno park

As I walked further, the trees here were much bigger and thicker in cherry blossom flowers

Continue reading “Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park” »

Jun 16

Japan 2015 – Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Date: 30th March 2015

My second last full day in Japan. I had to make the most of it and do all my shopping today as I would be visiting Hakone tomorrow. I also had to visit Rikugien at night (after I failed to get during my first visit). But before all that, I had to switch hostels. Where I was staying, Khaosan Tokyo Laboratory, didn’t have availability for the next two nights. So I had booked at a brand new hostel called Space Hostel.

Space hostel building Tokyo Japan

It was situated in a neighbourhood called Taito-ku, not too far from Asakusa

Lobby Space Hostel Tokyo Japan

This is the ground floor lobby. You leave your footwear near the door and then enter

Space Hostel kitchen Tokyo Japan

The kitchen is also on the ground floor

Bunk beds Space Hostel Tokyo Japan

A bed in the mixed dorm cost me ¥3200 (Rs. 1600/€24/$27) per night

Bathrooms Space Hostel Tokyo Japan

Shared bathroom and toilets are on the same floor. Multiple shower rooms, wash basins and enough toilets for everyone.

Rooftop Space Hostel Tokyo Japan

Space Hostel’s open rooftop is where you would have to come if you wish to smoke

Based on first impressions, the hostel was very good. Of course, it’s also very new, so that helps with cleanliness.

Continue reading “Japan 2015 – Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?” »

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