Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sakura blossoms in Ueno Park, Tokyo

Ueno Park is one of Tokyo's most famous outdoor places. The grounds are spacious, and there are museums, cafes, religious sites, a concert hall, a mini amusement park, a baseball field, and even a zoo. (Also, the Yamashiroya mega toy store is just across the street from Ueno station.)

Plus, there are lots and lots of sakura trees, making the park a near lock on any list of spots for hanami, the Japanese tradition of flower watching, especially around sakura season.

The other day, I wrote about sakura blossoms in Meguro. Here are some shots from Ueno, which I took on March 22, around the time of the full blooming of the trees.
Once stepping outside the train station, I knew I was in for a mob scene.
There are lots of trees in different parts of the park, but this is the main thoroughfare. Not for the agoraphobic.
That said, if you are a photo bomber, the day could be epic.
 More after the jump:
There are rows of very pleasant trees alongside the promenade.


Beneath the trees, people lay out blue tarps and have a picnic.

Now that's some blue ribbon picnicking!

There were a few taped signs where people reserved a spot, while elsewhere there were posted signs saying that was not allowed. But who knows. It's hanami!

This enterprising guitar player had what looked like a song list and was going from tarp to tarp.

Getting into the hanami spirit with a trusty can of Kirin!
Besides the main viewing area, there are open areas where people can wander about and get closer to the trees. It felt a bit less formal.

Sakura watching with the inner eye.

This bird knew where it was at. He snatched someone's chips, pecked a hole in the bag, snacked on one...

...and then decided it wasn't for him. Probably watching his carbs.

Journalists interviewing some foreign revelers.
I had some sakura themed toys to keep me company,

And this free spirit.
 More pics from throughout the park:

Mini amusement park, with tons of character themed rides.

Hey that's not sakura! You shut it, floral fascist! OK, sorry....

There's also a food stall area, which I believe is open daily.

Check out those monstrous dangos! (Dangos are traditional sweets made from rice flour and served on a stick.) I had a sakura flavored one (the pink type), which was so huge I could barely finish it.

Okonomiyaki stall

There's meat in tham thar okos, and they were too busy to make one without... so I was nogo oko.

But I did have one of these mega corn cobs.

One need not fear going dry!

As the sun went down, the sakurabration carried on!

Nighttime revelry
Some areas are lit at night, which creates another nice viewing experience.
There are many varieties of sakura trees all over Tokyo, including a really pretty row along the avenue running by Nakano Broadway. Even if you aren't in town during the peak blooming season, it's nice to be around when the petals start to fall, covering the ground, while new green leaves mix with the remaining sakura petals on the branches. It's little wonder Japanese culture is so wrapped up with hanami and the sakura is such an important symbol of the country.


krakit said...

Those okos looks delicious!

andy b said...

One of my favorite Japanese foods. At most restaurants, you sit in front of a large... sort of oven top, and they give you the ingredients, which you mix up and then cook by yourself!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...