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

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2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

The cherry blossom season has started slightly early this year, with the trees in many cities opening about two to three days earlier than average. Nagoya, Kumamoto and Kagoshima kicked off the season on March 21 when the first blossoms were observed. Since then, the cherry trees in other cities, especially those in Kyushu and the southern part of the Chubu Region have blossomed.

Today, I bring you japan-guide.com's first cherry blossom report from Tokyo. The city's representative tree opened on March 23, about three days earlier than average. The cherry trees were mostly still in buds today but it will not be long before they blossom and peak in this warm weather. The best time to view the cherry blossoms at their peak is estimated to be from around early next week as the weather forecast for Tokyo for the next few days is expected to be sunny and warm.

Ueno Park (Ueno Koen)
March 25, 2015 - just opened (0-10%)

My first stop for today was Ueno Park, a popular hanami spot in Tokyo. There are about 1200 cherry trees in the park with a mixture of varieties, including some early flowering varieties. Even though most of the cherry blossoms were still closed, there was already space cordoned off for hanami parties. I saw many tour groups braving the morning cold and wind crowding around the early flowering cherry trees and the few Somei Yoshino cherry trees that had a few branches of blossoms opened.

Weeping cherry tree at the entrance of Ueno Park
Most of these flower buds should be open before the end of the week
This path will be crowded with visitors and hanami parties especially the coming weekend
Close up of an early flowering variety
Standing tables for those who want to have a standing hanami party

Rikugien
March 25, 2015 - opening (10-50%) (weeping cherries)

Rikugien is a beautiful Japanese landscape garden in Tokyo. I entered from the normally closed Someimon Gate (open until April 5) which is closer to Komagome Station, and made my way towards the garden's large weeping cherry tree that was planted about 50 years ago and blooms a few days earlier than the regular cherry trees. There was a steady stream of visitors from pre-school kids on excursion, to elderly visitors, and everyone seemed to have a good time walking around the garden regardless of age. The garden is also illuminated in the evenings from 17:30 until April 5 during the cherry blossom season.

The large weeping cherry tree that is at least 50 years old
Close up of some of the blossoms
Sakura season is also sometimes bird photography season
View of part of Rikugien

Koishikawa Korakuen
March 25, 2015 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (weeping cherries)

Koishikawa Korakuen is one of Tokyo's oldest and best Japanese gardens, and also my third stop for today. The garden features many, slightly earlier blooming weeping cherry trees that were already in bloom and saw a constant flow of visitors who took many pictures of the blossoms. There is still on-going construction in the garden, with a bridge and walkway being renovated, however that did not affect any one who was there to enjoy the views and flowers.

Weeping cherry trees near the entrance
Close up of the weeping cherry blossoms
Somei Yoshino flower buds
Weeping cherry tree
Bridge that is still being renovated with a parallel path
Pre-school kids having a picnic
From a lookout in the garden

Shinjuku Gyoen
March 25, 2015 - just opened (0-10%)

My last stop for today was Shinjuku Gyoen, one of Tokyo's largest and most popular parks. Cherry trees of many different varieties are dotted around the park. There were lots of people in the garden crowded around the early flowering cherry trees and others enjoying the sun and picnicking on the spacious lawns. The most numerous Somei Yoshino trees only need a couple more days before they will be filled with blossoms.

Spacious lawn and early flowering varieties on the right
Somei Yoshino buds
Early flowering varieties
Oshima cherry blossoms
Weeping cherry trees at the western end of the garden

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List of Posts:
2019/10/23 - 46th Tokyo Motor Show
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