On a slightly cloudy day yesterday, I headed back into into Tokyo from Nikkō on my second cherry blossom hunt. I had all sorts of plans and a list of places to find, starting in Shinjuku. This is one of the more built up, crazy busy areas of the city – the kind of Lost in Translation/Blade Runner type bit – all huge buildings and neon signs. There are (allegedly) some parks and places for sakura spotting there but… I got spectacularly lost around (and at one point IN) the huge station (yeah, I know, don’t laugh…). I asked directions a few times, and some very sweet people stopped to help me when they saw my puzzled face and massive map…. Bless them all, it was to no avail and after a couple of hours of feeling like a bit of an idiot, I surrendered.
As I plodded about, I’d been thinking about what I really wanted from my cherry blossom spotting – having been to the very busy Ueno park on my first mission, I suspected that opportunities to actually sit on my own under a cherry tree and contemplate the blossom would be few and far between at the big parks on my list.
On the train on the way in, I had caught glimpses of smaller parks and streets where there were loads of trees and less people. Places that weren’t official hanami (cherry blossom watching) spots, but looked really appealing. I decided to head back towards Asakusa and a place I’d seen from the train.
I had to change at Ueno anyway, so on my way back I braved the crowds and headed for the park again. I’m so pleased I did – it started to gently rain and the combination of multicoloured umbrellas, pink cherry blossom, falling petals and grey skies was completely hypnotic…
After taking far too many photos, I got back to Asakusa and crossed the river to find a quiet little park to sit under a bench under the trees. It was magical, peaceful and just really lovely. One of the bridges across the river takes you over at cherry tree height, and it’s a great view.
My illustrations and sketches are never really about just physically representing things (that’s what photos are for), but even bearing that in mind, I’m struggling to do any kind of justice to these beautiful trees. Instead I’ve been focussing a bit on how they make me feel…
Tags: asakusa, cherry blossom, cherry blossom japan 2015, cherry blossom news 2015, hanami, hanami tips, illustration, japan, live blogging, sakura, tokyo, travel, ueno