Skip to main content

Where to View Cherry Blossoms or Hanami Hot Spots

Sakura in full bloom!
Usually I share links to articles I've written on Wednesdays, but this week I've decided to change it up a bit. Sakura (cherry blossoms) are in full swing at the moment, and locals and visitors alike are scrambling to see them. They've arrived a full two weeks early, which surely is changing plans left and right. An unusual spate of warm weather set things in motion, and as I've said before, nature waits for no one. The blossoms are here.

So, without further ado, I'll mention a couple places I love to go to see them. These cherry blossom viewing spots are also terrific places to soak up the people soaking up the blossoms, too. It's a brilliant time to see some stunning natural beauty and to see Japan really kick back and enjoy itself in so many ways. Pack your party sheet, favorite snacks, a beverage or two, and head on out!

Koganei Koen (Park) - an absolutely huge park on Tokyo's west side, there are nearly two thousand trees in full bloom this very second. And that's not including those that line the Tamagawajousui that forms the southern border of the park, either.

Inokashira Koen - a small, intimate park a five-minute walk from Kichijoji's south exit. Just follow the throng of people carrying picnic gear. It's a real stunner.

Yanaka Cemetery - one of Tokyo's oldest cemeteries in a wonderful old part of town, the cemetery is full of cherry trees and cats. It may sound odd, but it really is fantastic.


Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro