Side Quest: Sakura At Shinjuku Gyoen

In spring, all of Japan seems to fixate on the cherry blossom trees, also known as sakura. News programs start to include cherry blossom forecasts, and ads feature dramatic imagery of falling petals. Sakura infused snacks hit store shelves, and for a while everything is awash in pink. All of this fanfare leads back to the Japanese custom of hanami, or flower viewing. Hanami centers around appreciating the fleeting beauty of flowers, and cherry blossoms in particular since the frail petals only last a couple of weeks. So everyone gathers underneath the sakura, to enjoy them while they last.

Shinjuku Gyoen is a park that is known for its sakura trees. Once the cherry blossoms start blooming, people come in droves to picnic. That includes us.

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Even with all the cloud cover, the park is still pretty crowded.

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Cherry blossoms everywhere! Even the trunk of the trees are sprouting flowers.

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Some of the tree branches still have more buds to bloom.

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Sakura branches dip into the many ponds stretched across the grounds.

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Since the park is paid-entry the property is more akin to a well-maintained garden, as opposed to a public park.

Although the weather was somewhat gloomy, so many cherry blossoms gathered in one place was quite a sight. Maybe next year we will luck out and go cherry blossom viewing on a sunnier day.