Is is near the end of April now and almost all the cherry blossoms in Tokyo are gone. But in the second week of April when I went to see them properly they were everywhere. I visited two well known cherry blossom viewing places, Sumida Park, and Ueno Park.
The Japanese get very excited about cherry blossoms. They get a warm up to the cherry blossom season when the plum blossoms appear in February, but the cherry blossoms are the main flowering event of the year.
First I visited Sumida Park which has cherry blossoms along both sides of the river. In the background above you can see the Tokyo Sky Tree which is being built. Below is a different type of cherry blossom to the standard ones.
Each year at this time there are cherry blossom forecasts on TV that show you the spread of the blossoms through the country, so you can pick the right time to view them. They are only in full bloom in any one area for a few weeks.
Although all the flowers are pink, there is a big range in the colours, from very light pink, to very stong pink colours.
There were plenty of people in Sumida Park, but there were even more in Ueno Park. Lots of people were taking a break from work to have a look at the flowers.
Many people and companies organise cherry blossom parties, where they will have some food and drink whilst sitting on a plastic sheet under the cherry blossom trees. These are called ‘hanami parties’ – hanami means flower viewing.
I spotted a large group of people crowding round one particular tree taking photos.
On closer inspection it turned out that there was a cat in the tree. Perhaps he had gone up there for a quite rest, and was now regretting being the centre of attention.
If you are in Japan at cherry blossom time you can’t fail to spot them. They are planted everywhere, from parks, to gardens, to government buildings. For much of the year these trees look very bare, but for just a few weeks, they are one of the most famous sights in Japan.