Brrrrrr. It's cold in New York today, and I've got cherry blossoms on the brain. Next up on my list of Top 10 Tokyo people/places/things I miss the most....
For about two weeks every year, Tokyo's concrete jungle transforms, even the ugliest architecture made pretty by so many pink petals. There are celebrations in the parks, people eating and drinking under the trees 24/7, blue tarps spread out beneath blacktop and patchy grass. Ueno Park in particular draws massive crowds, even on weekdays; sakura season may be the only time of year Japanese salarymen and office ladies feel they can play hooky from work. Other hanami (literally "flower viewing") hotspots: the Nakameguro canal (a stunning display), Yoyogi park (a younger and rowdier scene), and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (but don't even think about bringing a Frisbee - the fun police keep the lawns strictly ball-and-kite free). Even our little Octopus playground park gets busy. Here are some of my favorite pics taken during prime time (late March - early April):
Blossoming cherry trees along Meiji dori near Shibuyabashi, April 5, 2012
Claire in Yoyogi park, March 27, 2009
Terry snapped this by the Nakameguro canal on April 9, 2011 (the boys and I were in New York). With the country still reeling from the 3/11 disaster, official hanami events in Tokyo were canceled and there were fewer people about.
Conor, 8 1/2, and Dylan, nearly 7, at Koishikawa Korakuen, a walled garden near the Tokyo Dome and one of the best places for viewing cherry blossoms, April 6, 2009
Meiji-dori in Ebisu, across from our bus stop and near our old apartment
Meiji-dori in Ebisu, facing southeast. That's Ippudo (ramen!) on the left beyond the vending machines
At the 06 Toei bus stop, looking toward Shibuyabashi, March 27, 2008
The boys' first close encounter: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, March 28, 2008
A Jingumae side street we would walk down to get to school when the kids were smaller, near the Children's Hall in Shibuya
When the blossoms fall away, they are replaced with lush green - this canal is such a gorgeous place, despite the surrounding architecture
Conor on Meiji-dori with Edmund Buddles, April 4, 2009
Boys were welcomed into a random ball game. Best thing about Yoyogi park: anybody can join in