2 years later, my family planned sort of a last minute trip to Tokyo. Everything was booked within an hour. It was fast, unexpected, a little crazy, but the same time amazing because sometimes spontaneous decision ends with best result?
For the longest time I thought I would not be back in Tokyo until 2020 – sort of a goal I set for myself wanting to go to Tokyo to see cherry blossoms in the Spring in celebration of Tokyo Olympics because it was announced when I was in Tokyo studying that in 2020 Tokyo will be the city for Summer Olympics.
This is an especially special trip for myself to be with family. 2 years ago I arrived in Tokyo not knowing much about the language. 2 years later, I can say I am fluent in Japanese and am able to plan the entire Tokyo trip for family. This is something very special to me, and I really want to make sure it’s the best trip yet for everyone – not just myself, but also my family. Arriving in Tokyo when it’s the peak of cherry blossom season surrounded by full bloom sakuras… Really, what more can I ask?
Because it is such a short trip (only 2 full days), was only able to planned 3 famous spots for “ohanami” cherry-blossom viewing because I want to make sure we can take it slow, enjoy the good food, and also have a nice time enjoying the beauty of pink sakura.
- Meguro River (because I’ve seen way too many people taking photos here before)
- Kudanshita – Kitanomaru Park / Chidorigafuchi (also an every-year famous spot and my mom’s personal favourite)
- Shinjuku Gyoen (family friend & Japanese friends’ recommendation)
My mom has beautiful memories of Kitanomaru Park when we came to Tokyo to help me settle at the end of March. Kitanomaru Park is right next to Yasukuni Shrine, which is also a famous spot for ohanami. I had no idea until this trip the famous “Chidorigafuchi” is actually on the right of the park. If you keep walking to the right you’ll start seeing the little boats and people snapping photos on the boat taking photos of sakura. Very romantic… If only the line for renting the boat wasn’t crazy long I’d go on that little river adventure with my family.
Actually had to pay $200yen per person as entry fee to go into Shinjuku Gyoen. Had to wait quite awhile because security would check your belongings to make sure you do not have any alcohol in your bag. Expect long line! A ton of people sitting under the trees for spring picnic with family, colleagues, friends, or partners. Sakura in white, pink, and light pink covering the sky. It is a lovely location at one of the busiest cities in Japan – definitely a spot for someone to find quietness and peacefulness surrounded by tall buildings and fast-walking people.
Overall I would say my favourite is Meguro River. We went at the perfect timing when the lanterns were lighting up. It was a nice and peaceful walk without much tourists so we could really enjoy the beauty of sakura and also reminiscing my time in Tokyo. Meguro River is quite long, some choose to start the walk from Naka-Meguro station, while we took the easier way using Yamanote-line and take off at Meguro station. Personally thought it’s a nice strategy because I also could introduce family to the famous Meguro Starbucks concept store. (The only downside was they already took down the sakura decoration…)
My mom still liked Kudanshita the most. I would say I love it very close to Meguro River but I’ve been to Kitanomaru Park before so it didn’t feel quite as surprising for me. Plus, it is very hard to beat night cherry blossom viewing in my opinion. It adds that mysterious edo-period feel. (My personal preference of lanterns… I love lanterns! Especially oriental style lanterns!)
I would not recommend Shinjuku Gyoen though. I think it would be an appropriate place for people who live in Japan / Tokyo to go for a nice picnic under the trees. However, it’s not really worth paying $200yen to go see the same scenic views where you could see at Ueno park for free.
By now you should all know my special love for sakura because they symbolise Tokyo / Japan to me. Do you like cherry blossoms? Have you seen the flowers at Washington DC? Do you want to go to Japan to see cherry blossoms? Memories to share? Interesting stories to tell?
I still need to go to Washington DC to see the flowers and a historical tour of the museum at some point… perhaps this time next year? 😉
Remember to find time to smell the flowers to think of the little good thing in life today and everyday – word to remind myself and readers x
*photos by instagrammer klisbeth831 (follow!)