Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cherry Blossom From Inokashira Park

"A perfect cherry blossom is a rare thing.
You can spend your whole life looking for one, 
and it will not be a wasted life."

Kusamoto (Ken Watanabe)
The Last Samurai


Spring at Inokashira Park.

Tokyo. Japan's capital and largest city to boot is well known for its tightly packed skyscrapers, convenient and timely public transit systems, and bustling, exciting atmosphere. What many may not realise, however, is the number of beautiful parks and tree-lines lanes that smatter this great metropolis. These verdant oases provide residents and visitors alike a respite from the steel and concrete hustle and bustle, and in the spring many parks, gardens, medians and even curbside explodes with colourful cherry blossoms. 

One of the popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spot is Inokashira Park, a spacious and well-kept park in the somewhat bohemian, counterculture-centric neighborhood of Kichijoji in the far west end of central Tokyo. The park, known as one of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom spots, is located south of Kichijoji Station of JR Chuo Line, at a 5 minutes walking distance. The entrance to the park is free. 

 Enjoying the cherry blossoms from the boat.


 The wooden fences along the paths are very characteristic to Inokashira park.


The cherry trees hang out over the park's large central pond.


Hanami from the rowing boay.


Hanami from the pond in Inokashira Park.

Lots of space under the trees for hanami parties.

The land was given to Tokyo in 1913. On May 1, 1918, it opened under the name Inokashira Onshi Kōen (井の頭恩賜公園), which can be translated as, "Inokashira Imperial Gift Park". Thus the park was considered a gift from the Emperor to the general public. This was the first time in Tokyo that a park was founded in such a manner. 

Spring in Inokashira Park is the season of the blooming cherry trees that line a central pond. There are nearly 500 cherry blossom trees in this park, which are primarily concentrated around the scenic pond, which constitutes the center of much of the park's eastern side and feeds Kanda River. 


Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms (Ikku Sojun).


Blossoms are scattered by the wind and the wind cares nothing, but the blossoms of the heart no wind can touch (Yoshida Kenko).


Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit (Khalil Gibran).


Under the cherry blossom trees, hope resides, safety embraces and its devastating beauty sweeps over, blindly mesmerizing you.

Inokashira Park has lots of space under its trees for picnicking and is an extremely popular place for hanami parties. Young and old will gather throughout the day to eat and drink. The parties used to go on all night, but complaints about noise and litter now mean all parties finish at 10 p.m. during the cherry blossom season. 

In addition to the cherry blossoms, the park has some well known places to visit. Visitors here can rent rowboats and swan-shape paddle boats to explore the pond, Inokashira Park Zoo, bird sanctuary, aquatic life park, the surrounding town of Kichijoji itself, and perhaps even the Ghibli Museum which lies on the Mitaka side of the park opposite Kichijoji Station. The park also popular with artists, musicians, joggers, photographers, and dog walkers.


A pond is featured in the park where people can rent a boat to get close to the cherry trees.


Cherry trees along the shores in Inokashira Park.


A fountain found on the edge of the pond.


Inokashira Park Zoo, a popular spot for the kids.

Looking from the Nanai Bridge, which crosses the pond near the center, the branches of the cherry trees extending from the shore bloom so densely as to all but cover the surface of the pond. The pale color of the blossoms contrasts with the sky and water's surface. During the blooming period of cherry blossoms the park receives many visitors. 

In addition, on the west side of the park there are many flowers to be seen in the flowering plum grove before the blooming period of the cherry trees. On the north side of the plum grove, on the edge of the pond, there is a spring, but its flow is nowadays weak.


 My favourite shot from Inokashira Park.

Although the park is not as spacious as Shinjuku Gyoen Park, another popular hanami spot in Tokyo, Inokashira Park is certainly worth a visit during the cherry blossom season. The light sprinkling of sakura petals enhanced the atmosphere, and the park should be very nice for hanami parties. 

Nothing beats the pink perfection of a Japanese spring.  Blue skies rain pink petals that gently float to the fragile floor. Happiness consumes you, romance perfumes the sweet air, echoes of laughter quietly hum along.


daisyadve said...


calvin said...

@ daisyadve:
Thanks Desi for the lovely comment! :D