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. Continue reading “Tokyo in Bloom: Meguro River”

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. Continue reading “Sakura & Co.”

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. Continue reading “Atop Mt Matsuda”

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 the enormous park has its turn in the spotlight every May, when 500 rose shrubs splash a multitude of colours throughout the lush, green landscape.

There are around 100 varieties of roses here and it’s just as much fun finding out what they are called as it is admiring the flowers themselves: Playboy, Jude the Obscure, Lavender Dream, By Appointment, Sexy Rexy, Honey Bouquet, Princess Aiko and Glamis Castle, just to name a few!

May is such a nice time of year. It’s not too humid yet, nor the sun too intense. The hectic start to the new work and school year in April as well as the craziness of the cherry blossom season has died down and the pulse of the city has slowed to a steady beat. It’s a great time to do things like sit under a tree reading a book, have a picnic with some friends, or stroll around a garden. And Shinjuku Gyoen is the perfect place to do so.

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 clouds is always a ‘wow’ moment.

On a very clear spring day, I travelled from Tokyo to the base of the mountain to a park called Hana no Miyako Koen. It was a mission and a half to get there – involving 3 trains, 1 bus and a whole lot of confusion – but once there, Fuji-san didn’t disappoint. The last time I was in this area it was so cloudy that we couldn’t see even one inch of the mountain. This time, though, every bump and crevice was visible. The zigzag trails stood out, and my mind immediately flashbacked to the summer of ’14 when some friends and I trekked up to the summit and back on those very trails.

The park was full of tulips in every colour under the rainbow. The pops of orange and purple and red were gorgeous. But with the tulips coming to the end of their season, it was the little nemophila that stole the show. You might remember my visit to the Hitachi Seaside Park where an entire hill is blanketed with blue nemophila. I didn’t realise there was a purple spotted variety, too. I loved how the spots created tiny love heart shapes on the petals. So sweet!

Hana no Miyako Koen is one of many parks around Mt Fuji. I think it’s awesome that there are people who have gone to so much effort to grow the flowers and create these ‘moments’ for the rest of us. How lucky are we!