Staff Reports
Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

My trusty steed and petals photobombing my picture

Today I visited western Tokyo, after being away in the Kansai region for the past week. Petals are starting to fall in Kyoto as Sean reported here. And in central Tokyo, Scott also reported three days ago that petals of the Somei Yoshino variety are falling freely.

However in two of the places I visited today, Koganei Park and Showa Kinen Park, the cherry blossom season is a little later than in central Tokyo. In Shinjuku Gyoen, while the Somei Yoshino variety's season is over, late blooming cherry blossom varieties can still be seen. My Tokyo wedding photo-shoot stands at two today, trailing behind Kyoto.

Koganei Park
April 10, 2014 - petals starting to fall (Somei Yoshino)
April 10, 2014 - just opened (0-10%) (late blooming variety)

Koganei Park is the second largest park in the Tokyo metropolitan area and was opened in 1954. There are about 2000 cherry trees, and about 50 different varieties of cherry trees planted in the garden, making it a beautiful spot to view cherry blossoms. The nearest station closest to the park is Musashi-Koganei Station, 30 minutes on the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station. From Musashi-Koganei Station, it is another 15 minute walk or a 5 minute bus ride from the station. The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is also located in the park.

A cherry tree lined walkway in Koganei Park
Somei Yoshino blossoms
These late blooming blossoms will open soon

I arrived at Koganei Park in the morning and was joined by the other early birds who were exercising or walking their dogs. The petals of the Somei Yoshino variety were falling freely at the slightest breeze, however, the later blooming cherry trees were just opened. With the warm weather forecast for the next few days, this weekend should be a good time to see the later flowering cherry blossoms as well as the last of the Somei Yoshino blossoms.

Old lady sketching
Pink everywhere, petals everywhere
Helping to keep the park clean

Showa Kinen Park
April 10, 2014 - petals starting to fall

One of seventeen national government parks in Japan, Showa Kinen Park was opened in 1983. It was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Showa's reign. The closest train station to one of the park's entrances is Nishi-Tachikawa Station on the JR Ome Line. Entry into the park costs 410 yen. There is also a 14 kilometer cycling course and there are bicycles available for rent. Another option of getting around the sprawling park is to take the internal park train.

Beautiful cherry trees along a canal
Somei Yoshino blossoms looking good at Showa Kinen Park
Petal blizzard and a kid waiting to have her picture taken

My next stop was Showa Kinen Park, and I arrived to find the entrance crowded with visitors. I rented a bicycle to get around the park and found it to be good idea. With designated bike parking areas around the park, I found it easy to stop and explore areas of interest on foot. The cherry tree garden in the middle of the park was most crowded with people picnicking and photography enthusiasts. It was not difficult to see why as there were many cherry trees as well as a large patch of nanohana flowers in bloom. There was also a huge field in front of the cherry tree garden and I saw some elderly men flying gilders and children running around. Showa Kinen Park looked great for a family day out and with the current weather forecast, the cherry blossoms should last till this weekend with lots of opportunities to see petal blizzards (hanafubuki).

Nanohana and cherry trees
Inside the cherry tree garden
Tulips were also in bloom at Showa Kinen Park
The artist didn't have the bride in her painting

Shinjuku Gyoen
April 10, 2014 - end of season (Somei Yoshino)
April 10, 2014 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (late blooming variety)

My last stop for today was Shinjuku Gyoen. Even though the season for Somei Yoshino blossoms here is over, fret not. Visitors to Shinjuku Gyoen can still see some of the later blooming cherry trees that were approaching full bloom. I saw many people picnicking under the later blooming cherry trees, and the Somei Yoshino trees despite their lack of blossoms. Some people were even taking siestas in the shade of the trees. What a great way to spend a Thursday afternoon. As with the other two sites, Shinjuku Gyoen would still be perfect for cherry blossom viewing parties this weekend as the later blooming varieties should reach full bloom within the next few days.

Picnicking under a late blooming cherry tree
Ichiyo zakura are light pink
Kanzan zakura are darker pink
Ukon blossoms are cream-yellowish
Threadbare Somei Yoshino trees
Picnicking regardless of blossom state

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List of Posts:
2019/03/20 - Moominvalley Park opens near Tokyo
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report