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The Beautiful Sakura Trees of Shinjuku Gyoen

Updated on October 1, 2014
Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen

Visiting the Gardens during Sakura Season

Shinjuku Gyoen is a massive garden in the heart of Tokyo located in the Shinjuku area. If you've seen the movie Lost in Translation, you'll know what Shinjuku looks like. Shinjuku is that part of Tokyo you see with endless neon signs, thousands of bars and restaurants that compete for your business, as well as the busiest train station in the world. It's probably the busiest city within the Tokyo metropolitan area and has everything you could wish for.

And even in this most chaotic part of the city, peace, serenity and natural beauty can be found if only you know where to look. Shinjuku Gyoen, which used to be the residence of a feudal lord during the Edo Period, has been open to the public since 1949 for everyone to enjoy.

As with every year, my friend and I decided to have an impromptu picnic at my favorite park and although it was slightly overcast, at least it wasn't raining. The park is massive and it's easy to spend an entire day here on a nice day. This is exactly what many people do and it's especially true during the cherry blossom season. Shinjuku Gyoen is home to more than a dozen varieties of cherry trees, with more than 400 Somei Yoshino trees that blossom between late March to early April. And if you arrive a week too late, don't worry as you can still enjoy some of the late blooming variety of the sakura trees that last until late April.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

A Touch of Elegance to Your Home

Nearly Natural 4764 Cherry Blossom Bonsai Artificial Tree, Pink
Nearly Natural 4764 Cherry Blossom Bonsai Artificial Tree, Pink

A truly beautiful specimen symbolizing the beauty of Japan. Perfect for those seeking elegance and tranquility, the pastel colored petals bring a sense of peace to any household.

 

An Oasis in the Urban Jungle

Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen

Although there are numerous parks around the city, Shinjuku Gyoen is probably the one I visit the most. Not only is it convenient for me to get to, the park has an atmosphere of calm and peace with lots of space to yourself, which is a rarity in Tokyo.

In preparation for our impromptu picnic, my friend and I dropped by the expansive Food Hall of the Isetan Department Store to pick up lunch. After browsing the mind-boggling selections on display, we opted for simple sandwiches from one of the Indian-food vendors.

Once we got into the park, it was more crowded than usual but that was to be expected. Cherry blossom season is the most crowded the park ever gets but even then, the park is big enough to accommodate everyone, including the large number of tourists that visit during this time of the year.

Shinjuku Gyoen Visit

Have you ever visited the Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens in Tokyo?

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Stroll Through the Sakura Fields

Sakura in Shinjuku Gyoen
Sakura in Shinjuku Gyoen

Cherry Blossoms Dinnerware Set

Corelle Cherry Blossom Square Dinnerware Set (Serves 4) 16pc, Multicolored
Corelle Cherry Blossom Square Dinnerware Set (Serves 4) 16pc, Multicolored

Square design with slight coupe shaping and artistically placed cherry blossom motif. Beautiful, durable and elegant dinnerware set that brings a touch of elegance and serenity to your home.

 
Strawberry Muffins for a Picnic
Strawberry Muffins for a Picnic

Flower Viewing or Hanami

Hanami or "flower viewing" is the Japanese tradition of enjoying the transient beauty of the flowers. Almost always, the "flowers" mean cherry blossoms and hanami is a major event that the majority of Japanese look forward to every year.

As the blossoms last only a week or two at most, careful planning is crucial, starting with knowing exactly when the blossoms would be in full bloom. This is easily done by tuning into the local weather forecast on TV as well as the internet. In modern times, hanami is more like an outdoor party than an actual flower viewing where people bring various food and snacks, pot-luck style. Finally, for most people, hanami is never complete without free-flowing beer, wine and other alcoholic concoctions.

This year, instead of the large inebriating parties that last the entire day, where no one actually views the cherry blossoms ( or any blossoms for that matter ), I decided to stay sober, low-key and zen.

Picnicking Under the Sakura Trees

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Drinks for our picnicIndian Wraps are the perfect lunchStrawberry Muffins at the parkSakura at Shinjuku GyoenWalking around admiring the sakura
Drinks for our picnic
Drinks for our picnic
Indian Wraps are the perfect lunch
Indian Wraps are the perfect lunch
Strawberry Muffins at the park
Strawberry Muffins at the park
Sakura at Shinjuku Gyoen
Sakura at Shinjuku Gyoen
Walking around admiring the sakura
Walking around admiring the sakura

Enjoy the Essence of Sakura at Home

1 X Sweet cherry tea (tea bag 2g×10P) Sakura green Tea
1 X Sweet cherry tea (tea bag 2g×10P) Sakura green Tea

Sakura tea is not only soothing, the subtle aromas of cherry and earthy green tea makes this perfect for a relaxing afternoon drink. This tea is basically green tea with cherry blossoms and its leaves but it's one of become of my favorite teas to drink.

 

With Spring Comes Beauty

Cherry Blossoms at Shinjuku Gyoen
Cherry Blossoms at Shinjuku Gyoen

In Japan, the cherry blossom signifies new beginnings and although most would say that Hanami is all about eating, drinking and getting drunk ( i.e. my friends ), for me it means something else. The sakura blossoms tell me that my favorite season has finally arrived and it's a friendly reminder to leave the past behind ( along with my heavy winter jackets ) and embrace the present, as well as the future.

I am happiest in spring as there is so much beauty that can be seen all around. The beautiful and near-perfect days combined with the vivid colors of nature, trees and flowers that have woken up from their long winter slumber, makes me want to stay outdoors forever.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

I love exploring my city so I've written about quite a few of the places I found particularly interesting. Here are just a few.

You might also enjoy my food and travel blog TabiEats. If you do visit, don't forget to say hi!

Have you ever been to Japan during the cherry blossom season? Please feel free to leave your comments here. Thanks.

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    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 2 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      I lived in Osaka for a while and was lucky enough to be there when the cherry blossom was out. Beautiful

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Gorgeous photos. Thank you for a beautiful tour.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Adventuretravels, thank you so much. Every year, I always look forward to them blooming in the spring.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thank you so much Paula Atwell.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      LisamarieGabriel, your wonderful comments just made my day. Thank you!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      I remember this hub when it was a lens. It is still very beautiful. I love the blossom so much.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      You have some of the most beautiful pictures. Lovely. :)

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      You just made my day. I love sakura trees and one day perhaps I will be lucky enough to see these for myself. Beautiful. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      What a gorgeous and relaxing stroll through the park with the blossoms, oh my! I think your picnic under the Sakura Trees was a splendid way to spend a day!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      Wow. You reminded me that I'd like to get a bonsai tree sometime. And that I'd love to visit Japan someday.

    • DreyaB profile image

      DreyaB 3 years ago from France

      I love spring and all the new and fresh flowers, we have cerry and plum trees in our garden now, so I really enjoy the blossom, but they're not pink like the ones you've seen here. Lovely calming page - thanks so much for sharing. :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      absolutely beautiful!

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 3 years ago from Havre de Grace

      So beautiful, I would love to visit someday!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      No I have never been to Japan. Spring blossoms are beautiful, your photos are perfect. Wish it was spring here in NZ not winter approaching.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Oh so beautiful...I long to go there. But your photos will have to suffice since I cannot. Thank you for sharing this lovely garden.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Beautiful lens! Thank you for transporting me to Shinjuku Gyoen.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Another wonderful lens that relaxes me even as I read through it. The flowers on the trees are incredible! So many, so thick with blossoms. Great photography as always. Enjoyed your picnic!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Looks like a beautiful place.