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

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2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Artificial cherry blossom tree at Ueno Station

Today we headed for Tokyo to do our second cherry blossom report for the year. As the weather didn't become much warmer over the past week, we weren't expecting much progress from our last visit. Weather forecasts have been predicting that this year's season would begin slightly later than the average season, and that the opening of the cherry blossoms would start around 31st March in Tokyo. Interestingly though, today we read about the season having started in Kochi, as its first blossoms have opened yesterday.

Ueno Park
March 22, 2012 - still closed

We approached Ueno Park with excitement as we imagined last week that the first flowers of the weeping cherry tree at its entrance would have opened by about this time. However, we were slightly disappointed that the buds didn't seem like they would open for yet another week. The Okanzakura cherry trees at the side made slightly more progress, but were still about a week ahead of full bloom.

As expected, the Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms have yet to open, and we would have to wait till the end of March before they start opening. In the park, preparations for the festivities of the coming hanami (literally cherry blossom viewing) season has begun, as workers put on decorations and set up make-shift garbage disposal bins.

There was an early flowering variety of cherry tree (a Kanzakura) which from a distance looked like it was dropping its petals already; upon a closer look, the culprits for the fallen petals were birds, happily pecking away at the nectar of the flowers.

Ueno Park's famous rows of cherry trees
The Somei Yoshino buds were still at an early stage
Early flowering variety: Kanhizakura (also known as Hikanzakura)
Bird pecking away at blossoms of a Kanzakura

Koishikawa Korakuen
March 22, 2012 - still closed

Bearing in mind of the weather conditions of the past week and what we saw at Ueno Park, our hopes weren't high for the famous weeping cherry tree at the Koishikawa Korakuen. Indeed, the buds look like they would not start to blossom until about a week from now (they usually open slightly earlier than the Somei Yoshino.

If visiting the garden in the near future, now is probably a better time to view the plums at the plum grove; many of the plum trees have reached full bloom, while some of the early flowering ones have already past peak and the late flowering ones are just opening.

Famous weeping cherry tree at Koishikawa Korakuen
A week is the estimate for its buds to start opening
Most trees in the plum grove at Koishikawa Korakuen are in full bloom

Chidorigafuchi and Yasukuni Shrine
March 22, 2012 - still closed

The situation at Chidorigafuchi and Yasukuni Shrine was similar, with a high majority of the trees yet to flower. There was a nice feeling in the air though, as many visitors were seen walking around, enjoying the atmosphere of impending spring and gathering around that odd early flowering variety of cherry tree to take pictures. In two weeks or so, hoards of people would be visiting this area, some probably renting boats to row through the moats at Chidorigafuchi while enjoying their hanami session.

The most significant tree of them all, however, is the one that stands beside an open air Noh theater at the Yasukuni Shrine: this is THE official representative cherry tree of Tokyo: when its first flowers bloom, it will be declared that Tokyo's cherry blossom season has begun. It seems likely that it will take more than another week to happen though.

Buds of the representative cherry tree of Tokyo
Chidorigafuchi
Moat at Chidorigafuchi, which will be beautiful when the cherry blossom season arrives

Shinjuku Gyoen
March 15, 2012 - still closed

As from our report last week, the vast majority of cherry trees in Shinjuku Gyoen were still closed, and the trees' buds looked like they needed at least another week of mild temperatures in order to start opening. A few of the Kanzakura variety have however reached full bloom, and many people gathered around them to appreciate their beauty.

Shinjuku Gyoen is a great place to visit for tourists in Tokyo before the main cherry blossom season starts, because it has a great mix of cherry blossom trees, including the early flowering ones which would be nice to look at as well.

Most varieties of cherry blossoms have yet to open at Shinjuku Gyoen
Lots of activity around the early flowering Kanzakura tree

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs