A couple months ago Chris called The New Sanno to get on the waiting list for the 4th week of March. Little did we know that this was going to be the most perfect time for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo this year.
Shinjuku Gyoen is a park that is considered the number one spot for cherry blossom in all of Tokyo and one of the top destination in Japan. We appreciated the effort the Japanese put into making sure a visitor's experience was nothing short of tranquil. Before you could even buy a ticket into the park there was a thorough bag check for alcohol and signs noting that no frisbees, soccer balls, bad-mitting, or animals were allowed were posted. At first I thought it might be a little too strict, I mean what's wrong with a frisbee or some sport equipment? But after spending some time inside the park I understood.
There could have easily been at least 10,000 people at Shinjuku Gyoen but because of the guidelines it was not a crazy, loud, in-your-face and out of control party, instead peaceful and lively! I don't know if I spent more time admiring the blossoms or observing the people. Everywhere you looked there were groups of families and friends young and old gathered on traps and blankets sharing a meal talking and laughing. The most PDA you'll typically see in Japan is hand holding (which is rare) but something about this time of year brings our the joy and life in everyone and the mood softens.
These pictures speak little truth to the beauty of the park. Actually looking back on the photos I questioned if it really was as great as I thought it was in the moment. Chris and I concluded that though photos are great, they cannot always capture the atmosphere. I also have always felt the closest to God in the great outdoors while visually taking in his creations and noting just how small I am in his grand world... not photographable.