Tokyo in Bloom: Meguro River

I headed to Naka-meguro one evening last week. It was a spontaneous decision, and as I sat on the bus, half asleep after a long, tiring day at work, I wondered whether I really should have been pushing myself so much just to see some flowers. The thing is, these aren’t just any old flowers… they are cherry…

Sakura & Co.

The 2017 sakura season is officially under way in Tokyo! It’s been quite cold and rainy lately, so it feels like the transition from winter to spring has been very long. Despite the weather, people have been out in droves. Wherever there are cherry blossoms, there are people – under it, around it, standing back and admiring from afar.…

Atop Mt Matsuda

Standing atop Matsuda-yama, it felt like I was in a dream. I was on a hillside covered in thousands upon thousands of pink petals, looking down over the urban area below. The late afternoon sun was shining intensely and everyone around seemed so happy to be there experiencing this fleeting moment. The sakura had just reached full bloom, and…

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku’s French Garden

After years of walking past bare, brown hedges not even worth a second glance, I finally managed to visit Shinjuku Gyoen when the roses were actually in bloom. Hooray! The French Formal Garden is one of the three main areas within Shinjuku Gyoen – the others being a wide open English lawn, and a Japanese garden and pond. This section of…

Hana no Miyako Park

Fuji x Flowers

Is there such a thing as too much love for Mt Fuji? Never, I say! Just look at her, standing out there all on her own, covered in pure white snow. She’s bold, beautiful and the pride of the country. And she’s notoriously shy, so catching a glimpse of her peeking out from behind the…

Sakura

Pretty Tokyo: Sakura 2016

The last of the late-blooming cherry blossoms have bid their farewell for the year, the sakura fever has died down and the city has gone back to normal. I can’t believe it’s already the end of April. It’s already been a month since I was roaming the Kansai region in search of sakura awesomeness. As soon…

Himeji

Sakura Hunting in Kansai (Part 3)

As the train entered the outskirts of the city, I slowly opened my eyes after having dozed off. Half asleep, I looked out the window; a sea of city lights met the dark night sky. In the distance an unmistakable sight immediately got my attention and any tiredness I had felt from the previous couple of days quickly vanished.…

Nara Park

Sakura Hunting in Kansai (Part 2)

No trip to the Kansai region is complete without seeing Nara. So, after 24 hours sakura hunting in Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto, I hopped on the train and moved an hour south to another of the former capital cities. From 710 to 784, Nara was the centre of Japan. Remarkably, some of the world’s oldest surviving buildings are found in…