Tokyo

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Chidorigafuchi is a moat located northwest of the Imperial Palace. The cherry trees of over two hundred which are planted along the 700 meter pedestrian path are in full bloom despite the strong rain & wind yesterday and are expected to stay at their peak over the next few days. Trees are also illuminated at night from 18:00 to 22:00 until April 6th.

Chidorigafuchi walkwayChidorigafuchi walkway canopied with flowering cherry trees

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Visit Date: 11/22/2013 (Best Viewing Time: late November to early December)

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) is one of the largest park in Tokyo with a land area of 58.7 hectares and circumference of 3.5 kilometers. It is located just a short walk from either Shinjuku or Sendagaya stations. It provides a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere which makes it a popular destination in the city.

The park skillfully combine three distinct styles: a traditional Japanese garden, an English landscape garden, and a formal French garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen - traditional Japanese gardenTraditional Japanese garden with ponds, bridges, hills, well-trimmed shrubs, and pavilion.

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Visit Date: 11/21/2013 (Best Viewing TIme: late November to early December)

Koishikawa Kōrakuen (小石川後楽園) is one of the oldest and best preserved parks in Tokyo and one of the surviving gardens from the Edo period. Numerous maple and ginkgo trees are planted along walking trails that lead to ponds, bridges, and man-made hills, providing one of the most pleasing autumn viewing spot in the city.

As of today, many of the trees in the garden have already started to show their autumn colors. Most of the maple trees in the Maroya area have already turned to bright red colors.

Koishikawa Korakuen - Maroya Area

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Sakura

Hanami which literally means “flower viewing” is an important Japanese custom and is held all over Japan during the Spring season. Said to have originated in the late 8th century during the Nara Period, when this seasonal event was used to welcome the new year’s harvest marking the beginning of the rice planting season. During the Heian Period, Emperor Saga together with the Japanese royalties would welcome this time with a celebration under the sakura trees in Kyoto’s Imperial Court. The practice spread to all citizens by the Edo Period in the early 1600s. The custom still lives to this day and thus became an annual tradition of enjoying a picnic under the blooming sakura trees. It  is no doubt one of the more remarkable natural events in the country.

For this year, Tokyo indeed experience one of the earliest season of cherry blossom which is 10 days earlier than average and 15 days earlier than last year. This is mainly affected by the unusually warm weather in March which rose far above average, taking the weather services by surprise and resulting in a record-breaking early cherry blossom season in the capital. Cherry trees in the city have already reached full bloom and will likely be past their peak by early April. Estimated best viewing period is from March 22 to April 1.

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Mt TakaoMountain climbing is a popular activity in Japan and without a doubt, Mt. Takao is one of the most popular hiking spots in Tokyo for its convenient location. With only about 50 kilometers from central Tokyo, it is a relatively short 50 minute train ride from Shinjuku via Keio Railways’ Limited Express. Visitors can enjoy its natural beauty and magnificent scenery all in a day’s trip. Mt. Takao also provides a good hike all year round.

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