Tokyobling's Blog

Snowy Tokyo – Chinzanso Garden

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on February 10, 2014

On Saturday Tokyo had an amazing amount of snow. The most in 45 years, just a little short of the March 1969 record. It started snowing in the early hours of the morning and it was still pouring down by the time I went to bed around midnight. Neighboring Chiba Prefecture had even more snow, the most ever since recordings started in 1966, which complicated things for the national airport, Narita. Further up the coast Sendai City also broke a new record. The Kanto region alone saw 60 800 households experience power cuts due to downed power lines. Wise from a similar snowfall in January last year people in central Tokyo seemed to have learned their lesson and I saw many more people with proper snow shovels out in the streets, as well as many more cars properly equipped with snow chains. At night the streets were eerily quiet as most people stayed indoors and almost no cars were out. During a break in the snowing at around nine I went out for a walk and I don’t think I have ever seen such a quiet Tokyo, no one outside, no cars, no winds.

I wanted to make the most of the snow so in the afternoon I visited the Chinzano Hotel (椿山荘). The subways were running on schedule so I had no problems moving around the city. The Chinzanso hotel is near JR Mejiro station and is famous for its beautiful classic Japanese garden which is full of hidden little tea houses, pagodas, statues and even a shrine. I have visited many times before but this was my first chance to see it covered in snow. It wasn’t easy to take photos in the strong winds and snowfall! Even though the hotel is in the middle of Tokyo I couldn’t hear or see anything outside of the garden. It was quite an experience! I also go to see the early plum flower blossoms covered in snow, as well as the camellia flowers that have already started blooming, another first for me!

Speaking of the Chinzanso hotel, a few years ago when I visited the Chinzanso I was invited to see a “dry run” tea ceremony, which made for some interesting photos.

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22 Responses

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  1. DenverSpeax said, on February 10, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Beautiful!

    Like

  2. Lilichan06 said, on February 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Wonderful!
    It’s a kind of magic….
    Your photos are always beautiful but these are especially gorgeous 🙂

    Like

  3. pk1154 said, on February 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I thought I was sick to death of snow, but looking at these pictures…no longer.

    (I am envious of being able to travel around the city. Automobile-centric transportation and masses of snow do not go well together. And now the Great Lakes are freezing over, which may mean less snow but more cold. *sob*)

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you for the kind comment pk1154! One of the reasons I love Tokyo so much is the absolutely car free life I am able to live here. Granted some people still feel the need to own cars even in Tokyo but oil prices are slowly but surely pushing them towards extinction. Tokyo population grows every year but the number of cars are going down. Lovely! I think we can all agree that you guys have had your fair share of the cold this winter though! (^-^;)

      Like

  4. celia knox said, on February 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Lovely! I especially like the 5th photo from the top, with the dots of pink amongst the white ^^

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you Celia! Yes, the plum blossoms look even better in snow!

      Like

  5. Your friendly librarian said, on February 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    The plum blossoms are beautiful! Will the greater-than-normal snowfall affect the cherry blossoms at all?

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 11, 2014 at 5:24 am

      Thank you Librarian! (^-^) The snow should have no effect at all I think, at least not on the cherry trees here in Tokyo!

      Like

  6. Cathryn said, on February 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I LOVE the blossoms and snow shots. Beautiful!

    Like

  7. junaedi said, on February 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    it’s amazing

    Like

  8. Shelli@howsitgoingeh? said, on February 10, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    So gorgeous!!! Your photos look like ukiyo-e!!! My aunt told my mom about all the snow! Crazy!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 11, 2014 at 5:24 am

      Thank you Shelli! I wish someone would make ukiyoe out of these…! (^-^;)

      Like

  9. Rie Chan said, on February 11, 2014 at 8:34 am

    beautiful pictures!
    I love going outside in the snow at morning or in the evening when everything is quiet 🙂
    Too bad Belgium didn’t got snow this year 😦
    How do you protect your camera against the snow? I’d be afraid to go out with mine…

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:43 am

      Thank you Riechan! No snow in Belgium? Well, the winter is not over yet! Lets hope for a little bit of snow in February! I didn’t protect my camera at all, but I tried to stay under the umbrella as much as possible. My camera was soaking wet after just a few minutes in the wet snow but it seems to have survived intact! (^-^;)

      Like

  10. Japan Australia said, on February 11, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Some beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing them with us. We had a little bit of snow here in Gifu, but by the time I went out it turned into rain and slush so couldn’t get any good photos.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Thank you! Too bad – Gifu is famous for its snow covered buildings…! Hopefully better luck next winter.

      Like

  11. Jonelle Patrick said, on February 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Oh, I am SOOOO envious! (≧∇≦)I couldn’t bear to look at your gorgeous photos until today, because I’m not in Tokyo at the moment and I MISSED THE SNOW. It’s my favorite time to go out and take pictures in gardens, because they are so transformed – after seeing your lovely shots, I’m definitely adding Chinzanso to my list for the next time I’m lucky enough to be there on a snow day! That pink tsubaki is an especially choice get.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on February 13, 2014 at 1:49 am

      I knew you’d hate missing out on this one! (^-^) We have been lucky with good snow here in Tokyo at least once a year. I can only hope for one more go before spring! Thank you for the kind comment Jonelle! (^-^)/

      Like

  12. […] It’s an atmospheric spot at anytime and someone else managed to get some nice shots in the snow earlier in the day. […]

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