Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Gumyoji

Time Out Tokyo

Jet lag worked in our favor for our Sunday plans. We planned to get out of the house early Sunday morning and begin our day at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I wanted to share the beautiful Sakura in the National Garden with both Dave and the Thompsons. I also knew the garden would become very busy. We arrived about a half hour after it opened and there were already many people prepped for Hanami.

We enjoyed walking through the garden. Yet again, we were lucky with more beautiful weather.

As we walked, we enjoyed the opportunity to view so many Sakura still in bloom.

After leaving the gardens, we stopped for lunch and then caught the train to Harajuku. As many times as we have been to Harajuku, I have never it seen it so crowded. This was the train ride to Harajuku.

The girls made a brief stop to purchase cat ears. Because, Japan.

At one point, about half way down Takeshita Street, the crowd came to a complete standstill. We ended up having to push our way out and slip down a side street.

The crowd left us weary and in need of a break from the crowd. We decided to walk to Shibuya instead of riding another crowded train. It was actually an enjoyable and somewhat entertaining walk.

After the crowd at Harajuku, Shibuya didn’t seem too crazy!

From Shibuya Crossing, we took the train to Gumyoji. I wanted Jennifer (and everyone else) to experience Yozakura. It was yet again, a beautiful evening.

These two! Candy covered strawberries dipped in sugar.

We caught one last train home. It was a long day for the first day of a Julia tour. For the record, I think the kids won this round.

Yozakura

Wednesday evening, I met Katie and her daughter, Virginia, at the Kanazawa Hakkei train station. We took the train from here to Gumyoji. We wanted to see the Sakura at night with the lanterns. The Japanese term for nighttime Sakura viewing is Yozakura. We arrived around 1730. The lanterns were illuminated at 1800. We took a few dusk pictures while we waited.

Tonight was my turn to tell the flowers how much we appreciated them blooming for us. Katie gave her appreciation on Monday. I’m still giggling.

When the lights came on, we clapped. I felt like there should have been a count down. The lanterns were so beautiful. Oh, Japan. You continue to steal my heart when I’m not expecting it.

The evening was extraordinary and so enjoyable. We sat at a table and Virginia enjoyed her churros and we enjoyed our beers. After our snacks, we walked along the river a little more.

The rest of the pictures were taken by Katie. Her iPhone 7 out performed my iPhone 6 with respect to night pictures. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your pictures. I’ll look forward to upgrading my phone when we return to the U.S.

Even after four straight days of Sakura chasing, I’m still impressed and amazed with their beauty. I hope you’re not growing tired of them either!

Gumyoji Sakura

After much anticipation, Sakura season has finally arrived in the Tokyo area. Simultaneously, so has beautiful spring weather. Today and the rest of this week, temperatures will reach the mid sixties. The 10-day forecast doesn’t show rain at all! Let the Sakura chasing begin!

To kick off Sakura season, Dave and I went to Gumyoji early Sunday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful Sakura trees along the river. I visited this area last year, but I didn’t remember exactly where to go. This was not an issue, we simply followed the crowd!

The trees are not fully bloomed. I would say they are about 70% at this point. By the end of this week, I think they will be in full bloom. Perfect for your visit, Jennifer!

The walk along the river was so relaxing.

As we walked along, we realized the lanterns had electricity. They must be illuminated at night. I will have to get back one evening this week to have a look. I imagine it would be beautiful.

A couple of the smaller trees were in full bloom. We stopped for photo opportunities.

Most of these Sakura are a very pale shade of pink. From a distance, they almost appear white. Up close, you can see the pale pink.

One tree was a brilliant shade of darker pink.

So, we discussed which was our favorite. Team Pink or Team Blush. Either way, my pink capris blend nicely. I might need to wear them all week!

Sakura Chasing

On Monday, there was a break in the rain. I set out on a mission to spend the day enjoying Sakura. I set out with four locations in mind to view with a Sakura setting. The first was the Great Buddha, Daibutsu. The first picture was the one I made the trip to capture. The others were taken in the surrounding gardens and a delightful surprise. 


My second stop was at the Ōfuna Kannon Temple or also known as the White Lady of Ofuna. Visiting this temple always calms me and helps me find peace. Seeing the White Lady today with the Sakura was enchanting and serene. 


My next point of interest was at the Gumyoji Station. I have never been there before and was recommended to visit during Sakura Season by a neighbor. Google Maps help me find my way from Ōfuna Station to Gumyoji Station like a champ. 


After a short walk from the Gumyoji Station, I was along the canal where the Sakura were in full bloom. It was breath taking. 


I must take a minute and explain the Japanese custom of Hanami. Hanami is tradition of enjoying a picnic under the Sakura. As I walked along the Gumyoji canal, there were many groups enjoying an afternoon Hanami. I couldn’t help but smile and truly appreciate the way the Japanese take time to enjoy fellowship and the beautiful Sakura blossoms. Without looking creepy, I attempted to capture a few groups practicing Hanami. 


The canal stretched on for a pretty good distance. I walked from one train station to another taking as many pictures as possible! 


My final stop of my Sakura chasing experience for the day was at the Shomyoji Temple. The temple was about a 15 minute walk from the Kanazawa-Bunco train station. The temple was easy to find because the street was lined with Sakura and lanterns. 


Around the temple there were several groups enjoying the Hanami experience. 


A highlight in the temple garden was the bridge crossing over the small pod. 


A few more Sakura shots from around the gardens. 


I feel like I made the most of the non-rainy day getting out and about to see the beautiful Sakura. When you plan your visit, I hope you consider Sakura Season. I will warn you though, like most things in nature, it can be difficult to predict. 

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