We just experienced our first Sakura (cherry) blossom season here in Tokyo and it was more beautiful than we expected.
While we didn’t get to see every hanami (Sakura viewing) spot we wanted to see because of our very limited free time (David now works 12 hour shifts overnight), were still able to enjoy Hanami at a few places.
The Sakura near where we live on the base in Fussa are already bare from the high winds we’ve gotten lately, but I have enjoyed riding my bike through the falling petals as I run errands around the local area.
I work at an English cafe in Hamura on the weekends David works and the owner has become a good friend to us. He is a widower and has tried to go on local bus tours by himself, but going alone just isn’t the same as going with friends or loved ones, so when he asked if we would be interested in going with him we were very excited.
The bus tour Ken-San booked for us was a Sakura tour around Tokyo that included all-you-can-eat tempura and sushi for lunch.
The locations we stopped at were:
- Tokyo National Museum
- Yasukuni Shrine and (matsuri) festival in the area before the shrine
- Shiratama Inari Shrine and Hotel Chinzanso (a popular outdoor wedding area with a waterfall and hidden restaurants and shrines along the paths on the hillside behind the hotel
Ken-San did an excellent job of telling us about the places we visited because the entire tour was in Japanese. We learned many new things and visited places we wouldn’t have discovered on our own. The tour was rushed, though, because traffic caused us to get behind, which meant our time at the locations was cut short.
I think my favorite Hanami was when we actually had the time to take a picnic lunch and relax under the Sakura by the Tama river in Hamura. We stumbled upon a small matsuri (festival) and I tried some fried uncooked spaghetti that was covered in sugar. I don’t know the name of it, but the booth was very popular so I decided to try some. It was good, but very messy. There was powered sugar everywhere!
Lanterns lined the path around this section of the Tama river, and this particular spot felt very dreamlike to us.
We went back to Ueno Park to see the nighttime Hanami, and we were delighted to see so many Japanese people relaxing, drinking, and having a great time with their friends and co-workers.
Next year David plans to take leave so he will be able to enjoy the Sakura during the day. I certainly look forward to next year’s Sakura blossoms!
Do you have a favorite Sakura viewing spot?