I took these two photos of the cherry blossoms at Tokyo’s Rikugien at the end of March. This year’s sakura viewing season was the earliest ever in Japan, a full ten day ahead of schedule, so it was still freezing cold at night. Rikugien is famous for its grand weeping cherry trees and this year it was as magnificent as usual. I actually took these photos on behalf of Special.T, a European tea brand, for their sakura tea marketing campaign. Me and a few other photographers contributed hanami photos from all over the country and they were all presented at the brand’s Pinterest page, go check it out, there are some great photos there from some really good photographers, both locals and travelers. The campaign is over but the photos are still up. Or you can compare this year’s Rikugien photos with the ones I took last year. They are pretty similar!
A quite afternoon a few months ago I took a walk in the northern parts of Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward, and happened to pass Tokugenin Temple, my first visit. A beautiful day and I took a few snapshots of details of this lovely little temple. In the last few pictures you’ll see some of the child statues you often find in Japanese temples, with offerings of plush toys and small statues of buddhas.
Tokugenin belongs to the Tendai school of Chinese buddhism, and this temple is one of many satellite temples to the main Tokugenin temple in Shiga prefecture in western Japan. One day I’ll try to visit there!
According to some sources, April 6th was the peak of the cherry blossom season here in central Tokyo and there were a lot of people out having a look at the flowers even at night, after work. Rikugien (六義園), a very beautiful traditional garden in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward, had a special even which drew a few thousand people, including me, to watch the lit up cherry blossom after dark. It was very dark last night again, very few clouds and even though the day was warm and lovely the evening turned bitterly cold, almost like the winter returned. Rikugien is a wonderful example of an Edo period park, founded over 300 years ago it only opened to the public in 1938. It was my first visit there but I really have to go see it again during the daytime. Not only was the sakura in full bloom but also the bamboo. It was very difficult to get any decent photographs due to the extreme contrast between the white flowers and the black skies, so please excuse the poor quality of these photos! Totally unrelated, but blog worthy, was the cute little house I passed on the way to the park! It looks totally out of place on a back street in central Tokyo!
At the Meijimura near Nagoya I found this beautiful little villa that has the distinction of being the former home of two of Japan’s greatest literary minds, the Army Surgeon General Ogai Mori (1862-1922) and Professor Soseki Natsume (1867-1916). Mori spent a few years in Germany while Natsume spent years in England, two very international persons for their day. This house was originally in Tokyo, in Bunkyo ward, but was moved in the 1960′s to its present location. It was first constructed in 1890 and is a typical small Japanese house. Built for summer it must have been bitingly cold in the winters! Can you see the cat? It was placed there in memory of Natsume’s most famous novel, “I am a Cat”.