Friday 20th March, 2020.
Vernal Equinox Day
(春分の日, Shunbun no Hi)
Around this time of the year, tourists and locals alike flock to marvel at the pink flurry of cherry blossom trees that only bloom for a few weeks every spring. We had searched for them earlier in Yoyogi Park to find branches still bare and yet to bloom. Fast forward 10 days later and I was determined to get up close and personal with these pink-petaled flowers. A couple buds and I decided to check out Shinjuku Gyoen National Park and surely enough,
THEY WERE BLOOOOMING!
Crowds of people were moving through the entrance and while you normally need to pay a 500 yen entrance fee, it was free because of the vernal equinox public holiday (win!) Experiencing hanami was at the top of my bucket list and I was so happy the trees had blossomed (right before my early flight home ;_; ).
Vernal Equinox marks the changing of seasons when the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west. Day and night have the exact same length and it is officially spring (astrologically). People have the day off work to celebrate spring, their love for nature and to spend time with family. Hanami (flower viewing) is one of spring’s best activities. Many people find little picnic spots to lay a mat and enjoy drinks with friends. From photos I’ve seen online this can get very jam packed with mats laid side by side. This wasn’t the case due to covid-19 so most groups were small and distanced themselves well apart.
Shinjuku Gyeon is a large national park nestled in the heart of Tokyo with skyscraper views. The sakura population is approximately 1300 trees in 65 varieties so there’s no shortage of blossoming trees throughout sakura season. It was beautiful to watch people celebrate their graduations, play with their kids and have afternoon naps on the grass. I could really feel the excitement in the air and this endless fascination with cherry blossoms.
I won’t lie, I could stare at these trees all day…..but I couldn’t so I took heaps of photos instead. I figured you don’t want to spend an hour looking at flowers so here are the best of them 🙂
Straight out of an anime right?!