Hanami at Shinjuku Gyoen Park

4:24 AM

As mentioned in my previous blog, Hanami is the Japanese art of flower viewing. This practice has been in their tradition since the Nara Period in Japan. Being the National Flower, the Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated throughout Japan although the full bloom week lands on different dates. On southern Japan like Okinawa, they get to experience the first bloom as early as January. As opposed to other places like Tokyo, Fukuoka and Osaka, the first bloom usually lands on the last week of March.

Shinjuku Gyoen Park is one of the top-of-mind destinations for tourists who are there for the Cherry Blossom Festival. During spring time, the garden is endowed with pink Japanese Camellia and Sakura flowers. 





The park has about 1,100 Cherry Blossom trees planted around the park. The park also highlights various plants that color the entire garden during different seasons. After spring, vibrant red roses and violet Hydrangea bloom during summer season (Jun-Aug). During autumn (Sep-Nov), the entire garden is painted in fiery orange. Then by the end of autumn, yellow Chrysanthemums bloom towards the start of winter in Tokyo.

Shinjuku Gyoen Park was opened to the public as a national garden way back in 1949. The park covers 58.3ha (about 145 acres), and it is divided into three distinct gardens – The English Landscape Garden, the Japanese Traditional Garden, and the French Formal Garden. 


In Japan, Sakura flowers symbolize clouds because it blooms in groups, forming the shape of clouds.


The Kamino Ike pond in the Japanese Traditional Garden.


When we went here, the Cherry Blossoms are on full bloom, and some of them are starting to fall already.



Sakura flowers play an important part in the Japanese culture. Picking sakura petals off its branch is a big no-no in Japan. According to some beliefs, the sakura petals symbolize warriors who lived passionately and died with honor. Falling sakura petals represent  the reincarnated souls of warriors who fell in battle.



FOOTNOTES 

From Shinagawa Station,

   - Take YAMANOTE LINE, towards Shibuya/Shinjuku (clockwise)
   - 1st Stop: Osaki Station
   - Transfer to SAIKYO LINE, towards Omiya
   - 3rd Stop: Shinjuku Station (Ebisu, Shibuya, Shinjuku Station)
   - 11-minute walk from Shinjuku Station

Other Information
   - Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:30 AM (Last Entry 4:00 PM)
   - Admission Fee: 200 YEN
   - Coin Lockers are available: 300 YEN (small), 500 YEN (large)


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