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Cherry Blossom Report 2012
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

2012 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report
Popular cherry blossom spots - How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties

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2012/04/03 - Tokyo Report
by scott

Shinjuku Gyoen

Today I headed down to Tokyo to check on the state of the cherry blossoms around Shinjuku Gyoen, Koishikawa Korakuen, Rikugien, and Ueno Park. While the blossoms around parts of Kyushu and Shikoku have already reached full bloom (see yesterday's report from Kagoshima and today's report from Kumamoto for more details), the trees around Tokyo only opened a few days ago. The blossoms around the capitol have progressed nicely since our last report on March 31, 2012 and look right on track to reach full bloom early next week.

Shinjuku Gyoen
April 3, 2012 - just opened (0-10%)

I started off today's report with a visit to Shinjuku Gyoen, a large public park in western Tokyo that is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms. The Somei Yoshino trees around the park have begun to open since our last visit, but most trees still have less than 10% of their buds open. I think Schauwecker's earlier prediction still applies that the Somei Yoshino trees probably won't reach full bloom until sometime early next week.

Somei Yoshino trees at Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen
Cherry blossom viewing parties
Paths around Shinjuku Gyoen

Of course the early blooming trees around the park are also progressing, and many have reached full bloom. This variety is what makes Shinjuku Gyoen such a good place to see cherry blossoms. You are almost bound to see some nice looking trees throughout the season.

Photographer's gathered around an early blooming tree
An early blooming Shuzenji Kanzakura already starting to lose its petals
The weeping cherry trees (shidarezakura) have reached full bloom
Early blooming trees around the Sendagaya Gate

Koishikawa Korakuen
April 3, 2012 - full bloom (weeping cherries)

Next I headed over to Koishikawa Korakuen, a popular strolling gardens near Tokyo Dome Stadium. Koishikawa Korakuen is better known for its weeping cherry trees rather than the typical Somei Yoshino variety of cherry blossoms, with a few prominent examples near the entrance of the park.

The weeping cherry trees have quickly progressed over the last few days and have already reached full bloom. They look quite beautiful, and should remain at their peak for several more days.

A weeping cherry tree near the entrance gate of Koishikawa Korakuen
A close up of the petals
Some larger weeping cherry trees were also at full bloom

There are also a few Somei Yoshino trees planted around Koishikawa Korakuen, although they are not the main attractions of the garden. These trees are only just opening, and probably won't reach full bloom until next week.

Somei Yoshino Trees around Koishikawa Korakuen's central pond
The blossoms have only just opened
A major reconstruction project is going on along the southern side of the pond

Rikugien
April 3, 2012 - full bloom (weeping cherry)

Rikugien is one of Tokyo's more popular strolling gardens and a great place to see autumn leaves. Although it is less known for its cherry trees, it does have a few large weeping cherry trees near the garden's main entrance. These trees appear to have reached full bloom and should remain at their peak for about another week.

Rikugien runs special extended evening hours (until 21:00) during the cherry blossom season in which its cherry trees and select walking paths are lit up by lanterns and spot lights. The event runs until April 8, 2012.

Rikugien's large weeping cherry tree
The blossoms have reached full bloom
Rikugien seen from its large central hill

Ueno Park
April 3, 2012 - opening (10-50%)

I ended the day at Ueno Park, one of Tokyo's most famous cherry blossom spots. The park's trees tend to be slightly ahead of the other spots around the city and were approacing 50% open today.

I would usually expect to see more picnickers underneath the trees, but today's weather forecast for strong wind and heavy rain probably scared away a lot of people. Those that were picnicking were already beginning to pack up as I was walking through the park. It was a good thing too because it started to rain just as I was crossing the street to Ueno Station to head home.

Walking through Ueno Park
White blossoms, but dark skies were on the horizon
Cherry trees line the path through Shinobazu Pond
The food stands around Bentendo were packing up to prepare for the coming storm
Cats enjoying the cherry blossoms

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List of Posts:
2012/05/09 - Sapporo Report
2012/05/08 - Hakodate Report
2012/05/07 - Hirosaki Report
2012/04/30 - Hirosaki Report
2012/04/29 - Kakunodate Report
2012/04/28 - Takizakura Report
2012/04/28 - Kitakami Report
2012/04/28 - Aizu Report
2012/04/28 - Hiraizumi Report
2012/04/25 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/04/25 - Sendai Report
2012/04/24 - Fukushima Report
2012/04/18 - Tokyo Report
2012/04/17 - Kyoto Report
2012/04/16 - Yoshino Report
2012/04/15 - Kanazawa Report
2012/04/15 - Tottori Report
2012/04/14 - Kyoto Report
2012/04/14 - Osaka Report
2012/04/14 - Himeji Report
2012/04/13 - Tokyo Report
2012/04/12 - Yokohama Report
2012/04/12 - Kamakura Report
2012/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2012/04/10 - Hiroshima Report
2012/04/09 - Tokyo Report
2012/04/09 - Kyoto Report
2012/04/07 - Osaka Report
2012/04/06 - Tokyo Report
2012/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2012/04/06 - Nagoya Report
2012/04/04 - Fukuoka Report
2012/04/03 - Tokyo Report
2012/04/03 - Kumamoto Report
2012/04/02 - Kagoshima Report
2012/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2012/03/31 - Tokyo Report
2012/03/22 - Tokyo Report
2012/03/15 - Tokyo Report