The 2017 cherry blossom season is moving along nicely, with multiple cities entering their best viewing periods in the past few days. Yesterday, Raina and myself reported from two such cities; Fukuoka and Nagoya, and in continuing our coverage of this spectacular season, today I rounded off my week of cross-country sakura sleuthing with a trip to Tokyo.
On Monday, Andrew reported how the increase in temperatures was positively influencing the progression of the capital's cherry blossoms following a cold spell that had temporarily stalled them. Since then, the area has remained relatively warm and this trajectory has continued. This morning I headed to four of Tokyo's most popular blossom-viewing spots and found that the city is now very much awash with the whites and pinks of sakura.
My first stop today was Ueno Park, which I'm happy to report was looking rather spectacular. The park's famed Somei Yoshino cherry trees looked to have reached full bloom, making for a brilliant, pink-white canopy under which revelers were this morning preparing for hanami parties. As always, arrive here early if aiming to get a hanami spot, because this is perhaps the most popular cherry blossom-viewing spot in the city, and the limited real estate becomes occupied very quickly!
Down by Shinobazu Pond on the park's lower levels, the blossoms were just a tad behind, but were still great to look at. I expect that the best viewing period in the park will last until early/mid next week unless strong wind or rain puts a premature dampener on things. The blossoms are illuminated between the hours of 17:30 to 20:00 until April 9 for evening viewing.
Next on my list today was Rikugien Garden in northern Tokyo. The park is considered the city's most beautiful Japanese-style landscape garden along with Koishikawa Korakuen, and makes for a great place to stroll at this, or any time of year.
The garden's spring time main attraction; the large, early-blooming Shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree) near the main entrance, looked ever-so-slightly past it today as its petals were beginning to fall to the ground. Having said this, it still looked majestic and attracted a lot of attention from visitors. The other, later-blooming cherry trees in the garden were around two thirds the way to full bloom, and should reach their peak by the weekend providing the expected warm temperatures prevail.
Following my jaunt around Rikugien Garden, I made my way over to Chidorigafuchi in the heart of Tokyo. The cherry blossoms have really come along here since my visit last week, and now the trees are looking lush as more blossoms have opened. Something else that has increased is the amount of tourists, which were here in the hundreds today. The crowds make walking through the area slow, and the line for the rowing boats rather long! While impressive, the blossoms have not quite reached full bloom yet, but if the predicted warm temperatures prevail, I expect them to do so in the next 1-2 days.
My final stop today was by the Meguro River. As with Chidorigafuchi, the crowds were intense, and the blossoms were on the cusp of full bloom. With warm weather predicted tomorrow, I expect the remaining buds to burst into life and make this area even more spectacular than it was today! For evening blossom viewing, the area around the river is illuminated from nightfall until 21:00 for the duration of the season.