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Tokyo: Petals Falling

Later-blooming varieties are starting to flower at Shinjuku Gyoen

When Charles visited Tokyo three days ago on Sunday, the cherry trees in the city center were starting to shed their petals but still looked quite spectacular. However, the additional 72 hours since then and yesterday's rain have caused the season to proceed beyond its peak, although some nice views could still be enjoyed. Strong winds today and more rain tomorrow will likely bring the season to an end in the near future.

Meanwhile, many cherry trees in Tokyo's suburbs and surroundings, such as Showa Memorial Park, which I visited today, survived yesterday's rain better and continue to provide pleasant hanami conditions. Unfortunately, the rain forecast for tomorrow may shorten the season there.

Ueno Park

Past Peak

Today at Ueno Park I observed a dramatic decrease in blossoms on and hanami parties below the cherry trees, although the views were still pleasant. Many petals have dropped, some of them victims of yesterday's rain, others separated from their comrades by the relatively strong wind today. Tomorrow's rain is likely to bring the hanami season to a close at Ueno Park.

Less blossoms on the tree, but still lots of people at Ueno Park
The state of the blossoms at Ueno Park
An increasing number of petals could be found on the ground
... and elsewhere
Wind bursts were causing some nice petal blizzards
The only hanami party in the park this morning

Shinjuku Gyoen

Past Peak

The Somei Yoshino cherry trees at Shinjuku Gyoen were also beyond the peak of their seasonal beauty, having lost considerable numbers of their petals. Meanwhile, large numbers of later-flowering cherry tree varieties continue to make Shinjuku Gyoen a paradise for sakura-seeking tourists. The late-blooming varieties will continue to bloom across Shinjuku Gyoen for another two weeks, making the park the best spot in central Tokyo for visitors who missed the main spectacle.

Even some Somei Yoshino trees were still quite full today
But many petals have fallen
Fallen petals
Most Somei Yoshino trees were beyond their peak
But many later-blooming cherry trees still provided highly pleasant hanami conditions
An Ichiyo tree approaching full bloom with some other flowers in the foreground
The same tree from below
Ichiyo cherry blossoms (and most other late-flowering cherries) feature many more petals than the 5-petaled Somei Yoshino
Kanzan blossoms consist of even more petals and are colored dark pink
Even some Fugenzo trees, which are among the latest to flower, have started opening their first blossoms
Yellow Ukon blossoms

Showa Memorial Park

Petals Starting To Fall

Cherry trees in Tokyo's suburbs typically bloom a few days later than their cousins in the city center. As a result, suburban parks are now among the recommended hanami spots for those in search for good viewing conditions. Among these parks, Showa Memorial Park in Tachikawa City, a 30 minute train ride west of Shinjuku, is one of the largest and most pleasant.

Yesterday's rain has taken a small toll on the blossoms; however, the cherry trees around Showa Memorial Park generally survived in relatively good shape and provided for highly pleasant hanami conditions today. Unfortunately, more rain is in the forecast for tomorrow which may shorten the season, although quite a few blossoms still looked quite sturdy and may be able to survive the rain.

Showa Memorial Park is so large that it is recommended to rent bicycles to get around
Other means of transport are also available
The wide open lawns of Showa Memorial Park
Extremely pleasant conditions at Showa Memorial Park
Although there were quite a few petals on the ground, many trees also still carried some closed blossoms
Enjoying games at the park
More games at the park
Possibly the last sunny day for enjoying the flowers at their peak
Rapeseed flowers and cherry blossoms
The rapeseed flowers were about 25% open
Idyllic day at Showa Memorial Park