Travel Reports by scarreddragon view profile of scarreddragon

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March 9, 2014 - Flower Weekend 2: Tokyo Report

So Gunma's plums aren't so great yet... we'll just go a bit further South and find better! And using that as an excuse, we headed to Tokyo for a day trip.

We had to get some errands done before seeing any flowers, and our normal first stop is the Nikon Camera store on the 28th floor of the Nikon Plaza in Shinjuku. If you are a Nikon camera user from out of the country, I'd definitely recommend taking some time from your trip to get your camera cleaned here. It usually takes only an hour if they aren't too busy, and costs 1000 yen for out-of-warrenty cameras. For other small repairs they do many in-house, and there is also a showroom and a gallery to look at if you want to wait there. Googling "Nikon Salon Shinjuku" will get you hours of operation and a map from the nikon site.

After eating lunch at a yummy Chinese restaurant in the area, we picked the cameras up and headed across town to Ochanomizu on the Chuo line, then walked about 15 minutes toward Yushima Tenjin, one of my favorite places in Tokyo to see ume blossoms.

The actual plum festival ended today, March 9th, but the flowers will probably still be very nice for at least another week. I wouldn't say all the trees were at peak today, but certainly getting there.

It was very crowded and lively today... lots of food stalls, my favorite was a caramel cake, but there were a ton of choices. Also lots of souvenir and omikuji to buy.

Now THIS is what I'm talking about! Much better timing than Gunma, nice colors, and a few very full trees, although the white plums as usual are on a later schedule and not as full.

Yushima Tenjin is right next to Ueno Park, maybe a 3-5 minute walk, so we went there as the last stop, to see the early sakura blossoms as well as the recently redone Toshogu Shrine.

Ueno Park right now... is not the most attractive place, let's be honest.

That did not stop many Tokyoites and tourists from enjoying the day, and the lake was crowded with swan and row boats.

I people-and-bird watched a little bit before getting distracted by this amazingness of a snack... a whole potato cup in a spiral and shoved on a long stick, fried then spiced liberally with your choice of salt, bbq, onion, or chili flavor... add in a beer and I was in that line so fast I think I pushed at least 3 tourists out of the way. I have no idea what it is called and I have never seen it before, but it was worth all 300 yen I spent on it. Get salt flavor, it was the best.

Right around the corner from where we got the snack of awesomeness and a really cold Asahi beer was this early-blooming sakura tree which won the award for Most Photogenic of the day.

There were some other sakura trees, but the waning light didn't net me any more good pictures, so we headed on to the new Toshogu shrine. I've never seen it when it wasn't under renovation, as it's been going on as long as I've lived here.

I thought the black and gold was quite striking, and that they did a good job of using netting and what looked like plastic panels to protect the detailing while still allowing for maximum visibility.

We didn't actually go into the main area, as even fortified by the stick of fried-heaven, our Chinese lunch was wearing thin and we were looking forward to another big meal of whatever foreign food we can't get in our little town. But the outside was very nice, so maybe we'll be back.

On our way to TGIFridays, our decided-upon foreign food fest for dinner, I noticed the Tokyo Museum of Western Art had a Monet exhibit ending, you guessed it, today. I turned puppy-eyes to my boyfriend, who led me by the hand to stand in front of this board and said, "look, you can see it even bigger on this poster and for free! Now let's get dinner."

I didn't get to see the Monet exhibit. But I did have a giant hamburger at TGIFridays.

I also saw this sign for a Spring Music Festival... lots of interesting-looking upcoming events! The full list is here: Lots of famous classical Japanese musicians, especially pianists. Most interesting to me on this list is the Japanese songs sung by opera singers on March 22nd, but (coincidentally) I'll be in Vienna then. Maybe next year!

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List of Posts:
2016/04/24 - Mitsuhiko Imamori Paper Cut Works Exhibit in Takasaki
2015/11/19 - Shiobara Onsen, Tochigi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Miyazaki City
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Nichinan Coast and Cape Toi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Takachiho, Miyazaki
2015/08/27 - Southern Kyushu: Kumamoto Castle
2015/08/25 - Southern Kyushu: Ibusuki and Kirishima
2015/08/24 - Southern Kyushu: Kagoshima City, Kagoshima
2015/08/03 - Tambara Lavender Park
2015/07/13 - Event: Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium
2015/05/01 - Kanna-machi Koi-no-Bori Festival
2015/05/01 - Wisteria Festival in Fujioka
2014/11/15 - Sakurayama Koen: Fall Colors and Winter-blooming Cherry Blossoms
2014/11/15 - Ueno-mura Sky Bridge and Fall Colors
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 1: Gifu City and Gujo Caves
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 2: Gujo City and Shirakawa-go
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 3: Hida Takayama
2014/07/02 - Rainy Season around Tokyo: Hydrangea Flowers
2014/05/27 - Road Trip: Yamadera, Yamagata
2014/05/26 - Road Trip: Yonezawa, Yamagata
2014/05/19 - Roadtrip Fukushima's Ouchijuku
2014/05/16 - Roadtrip: Aizu-Wakamatsu
2014/04/30 - Climbing Gunma's Mt. Myogi
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 2: Tokyo Report
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 1: Gunma Plums
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 1
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 2
2013/10/30 - Cosmos and Mt. Myogi
2013/10/01 - Fall Flowers: Higanbana
2012/12/01 - Winter Cherry Blossoms at Joumine Kouen
2012/11/18 - Annual Coco Harvest Festival
2012/11/11 - Ueno Cat cafe ''Nekomaru''
2012/11/10 - Tokyo Design Festa vol.36 at Odaiba
2012/11/04 - Utsunomiya, Tochigi Gyoza Festival