When I arrived in Tokyo recently it was just a little too early for the season. The lack of Sakura didn’t stop people from starting their parties early in Ueno Park, one of the most popular Hanami spots in the city. The plum blossoms as beautiful as they were in full bloom are actually the first real sign of spring in Japan. Plum or cherry blossoms, that’s good enough of an excuse to get the party started.
During the cherry blossom season a Japanese tradition is to find a spot under a tree, spread out a plastic picnic sheet and invite family and friends to sit and enjoy the blossoms or Hanami while eating and drinking, wine, beer, sake or just about anything.
I checked out some of the rest of the park including the hexagonal Bentendo temple with it’s seasonal food stalls and Shinabazu pond where you can rent a swan shaped boat. The park’s history of cherry blossom viewing goes back to the Edo period in the last half of the 19th century when this area was a popular place for Tokyoites to visit.
If it’s your first time to Japan you may be wondering if it will be hard to communicate as it’s known that many Japanese people do not speak English. I met up with some friends in a restaurant near Tokyo Station and we chatted about what it’s like for foreigners to travel in Japan and some of the myths of the language barrier. I asked my friend Akiko who has lived in the greater Tokyo area for most of her life some tips on the best way to communicate when visiting the country. Excerpts from “Sakura Season In Japan-Celebrating Cherry Blossoms Tokyo Style”.
I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.
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