Come with me to Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, a sakura paradise in which 1500 cherry blossom trees are currently blooming into a white and pink extravaganza.
Shinjuku Gyoen has more than 20.000 trees, of which around 1500 are Japanese sakura.
Let me tell you the story of the first time I went to Shinjuku Gyoen. It was 2014, I was just married and visiting Japan for the first time. Really excited to see the gorgeous botanical garden featured in Makoto Shinkai’s Kotonoha No Niwa – The Garden of Words; we headed to the entrance wondering why it looked….well, empty and silent.
We reached the heavily chained metal fence and a single notice was hanging from it. It said: Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is closed until further notice due to a dengue fever outbreak in the premises.
So you may not know this but I know and knew that dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. You may also not know this but I’m notoriously delicious to mosquitoes, especially in Japan. If there’s a mosquito in a 20 meters radio, I get bitten. I’m one of those people that bathe in repellent, wear long sleeves, avoid “mosquito situations” (sunset/evenings, bodies of water…) and still get bitten. VIOLENTLY.
I have never run faster in my life. I’ll probably never will.
However, that was almost five years ago and today Shinjuku Gyoen is proudly dengue-free and incredibly beautiful with blooming sakura. I wanted to see them and take some pictures so last weekend I headed there with my gorgeous camera asistant/soulmate, The Husbun.
Many of the trees were already quite bloomed although almost none looked in real full bloom. Shinjuku Gyoen is amazing to see the different sakura species and the park itself makes for an incredible stroll. The French Formal, English Landscape and Japanese Traditional styles merge beautifully and you just never get bored.
Of course I
commandedsuggested to go during golden hour (right before sunset- right now around 5:30pm) so I could take advantage of the changing lights and that golden glow.
All photos were taken with my trusty Nikon because I forgot to put an SD card on the other camera I brought. Yay.
As always, I popped by the pavilion featured in The Garden of Words. You can see the photos and the views in the next shots. I really love that film and the fact that you can visit the exact location where most of it takes place is one of the reasons why I adore living in Tokyo.
Remember that Shinjuku Gyoen National Park closes at 6:00 (you can enter up til 5:30 but you definitely need more than 30 minutes to really see it) so be mindful of the time when/if you visit it!
Have you visited Shinjuku Gyoen National Park? Did you get bitten by a dengue mosquito? Let me know in the comments section!!
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