Japan! Experiencing Hanami!

September 29, 2015
September 29, 2015 Hilary

Japan! Experiencing Hanami!

#sakuraskySpringtime in Japan is breathtakingly beautiful, so It’s no wonder that people come from all over the world to see it! The cherry trees are in bloom and they are everywhere!

Ueno Park

#sakurablossomsWalking among the thousands of trees in Tokyo’s Ueno Park you can’t believe how lovely it is! Magical really! The branches are overflowing with blossoms and they stretched out over our heads creating canopies of pink, white and blue sky. I didn’t know where to point my camera first! Of course everyone else wants to take a photo too, so you have to be careful to look where you’re going. There aren’t just thousands of beautiful trees, but thousands of people too! As many as two million people might come to see the blossoms in a given year.

This activity is called Hanami which literally translates to “flower viewing” and it is popular activity for all ages. So much so that the sakura blossom forecast is reported by local weather forecasters. Additionally, there are websites you can visit that will help you determine the different bloom forecasts depending on where and when you plan to visit. And of course there are sakura festivals in many places. It’s quite popular for the younger generations to picnic under the blooming trees and while we didn’t do this ourselves we did have the opportunity to walk through the park and see the literally hundreds of people picnicking! It did look fun!

Beyond The Blossoms

#gojoshrineThere are many things to see and do in Ueno Park beyond hanami.  We discovered fabulous food stalls, a shrine, the remnants of a giant Buddha statue, beautiful torii gates, the Ueno Zoo and swan boats in Shinobazu Pond. There are also a number of large museums, but even with multiple visits we simply ran out of time.

I’m not sure if the food stalls are in the park all year round, but there were many food options when we were there and Elliot did his best to hit every single one! He wanted to stop at practically every place and try something new. Many places in Japan don’t take debit cards or credit cards and we actually ran out of cash before Elliot was done eating!

Shinobazu Pond

Shinobazu Pond is located within Ueno Park and there is a lovely island right in the middle. During the sakura festival the pathway leading there is lined with even more food options! We found some yummy desserts and then visited The Bentendo Temple. I read that the temple is dedicated to the Goddess of good fortune, wealth, music, and knowledge. I like it!

There is a pedal boat ride in the pond and the boats are colorful swans! The boys really wanted to go for a ride, but the swans only held three people at a time, so I spent some time taking photos of the shrine and more blossom photos while they pedaled around with Tim. Perfect!

 The Ueno Great Buddha


Located just up the hill from the main avenue of cherry trees is the face of what was once a very large statue of Buddha. This was the second great Buddha to stand in this spot. The first one was destroyed in an earthquake in 1647! The second one was also heavily damaged in the 1923 earthquake. Only the face remains because the rest of the 3.6 meter tall statue was melted down to make weapons in WWII.

The Ueno Zoo

#TokyoZooAs we often do when traveling with the boys we visited the zoo!  We had a nice afternoon and saw a few animals that we’ve never seen in any western zoos. That was fun!

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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (40)

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I would be in heaven if I ever manage to make it here! I would like to do a biiiig tour of Japan one day, as I was born in Okinawa but haven’t been back since I was 2-3 years old. #CityTripping

    • I hope you do find your way back! We LOVED this trip, and are talking about getting back, Okinawa is on our list!

  2. ChelseaMamma

    Wow! Such a beautiful country. I would love to see all those Cherry Trees up close and witness a Japanese festival

    • It definitely exceeded all expectations! And at the end the blossoms fell from the trees like snow!

  3. I love Japan. We went there as a family last May and had a simply wonderful holiday. Just missed the cherry blossom, but Tokyo was superb. My favourite place was Arashiyama though, which I visited from Kyoto. Looks like you had a fabulous time! Kate x #CityTripping

  4. tracycollins2016

    This looks so beautiful – I would LOVE to see the blossoms! And visit Japan so i must make sure i visit when the blossoms are out! #citytripping

  5. I’d love to visit Japan during Spring although clearly everyone has the same idea! Tokyo is busy whenever though. A really great city and I look forward to returning one day. My tummy is rumbling after seeing all that delicious food. Great to see your boys enjoying the local dishes #citytripping

    • True, Tokyo is busy, but so clean and quiet considering! My boys have never eaten better on any other trip! They loved the food in Japan!

  6. I’m soooo envious!! I’ve been to Japan more than 10 times but never during cherry blossoms because of Singapore’s school schedule (and the fact that my husband is a teacher). And oh, how I love those festivals and festival food! #CityTripping

    • I’m envious! I wish I’d been to Japan 10 times! You’ll get there one day I’m sure!

  7. thesecretlifeofanactress

    I’ve been to Ueno park but it was autumn & it still was a beautiful place… But with all the blossoming trees is really something!!

  8. bavariansojourn

    So utterly beautiful! I would love to see this one day. I have travelled in Japan, but just at the wrong time of year! #citytripping

  9. The blossom is so beautiful – we were too early on our visit in January but I would lovevto go back. Although perhaps not sharing it with 2 million others! I love how adventurous your son is about food too. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  10. Ruth

    Would love to visit Japan during this season (or anytime, to be honest). The country feels fascinating to me (and so different from what I have experienced). I do not like the credit / debit card thing (I am so used to that). #FarawayFiles

  11. Clare Thomson

    Sounds like my perfect day, Hilary. Seeing all those beautiful cherry blossoms and trying lots of delicious new foods. One of my sons loves to try new foodie flavours too so I’m sure he’d have emptied our wallets in just the same way. Those swan boats look like fun too. Great post for #FarawayFiles

    • Thanks! It was the most amazing adventure! I’m hoping to get back someday, maybe for the autumn leaves!

  12. Hanami is on my bucket list! I adore the blossoms and go blossom hunting every year but these are at a whole other level. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  13. Anisa

    I was lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms a couple times in Japan and I agree it was absolutely lovely. I would really love to go back. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  14. Springtime in Japan looks absolutely breathtaking! Japan is very high on our list and we’ve talked about going sometime in the next few years. I’ve never been. Love reading posts like these to keep the inspiration going. #farawayfiles

    • You should go!! For various reasons, it took us 15 years to get there and it did not disappoint! I cannot wait to get back there! Because we waited so long I carefully planned our visit to coincide with hanami! #dreamcometrue

  15. Kat

    Oh I didn’t know that you could have picnics or that there are food stalls at the park…that’s wonderful! Sakura moments are always beautiful. I have yet to visit Japan, hope to make it next year, and I will make sure that it coincides with Sakura 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

  16. What a great post! Japan is very high on our dream travel list, and the Cherry Blossoms are a big part of that! We’re Pinning this one for later – Ueno Park & Zoo seem fun…and our To Do list gets longer! 😉

  17. This looks awesome and a bucket list must do. Is there a way to beat some of the crowds by getting there really early? Wilbur #farawayfiles

    • It was awesome and believe it or not the people are so polite and everything is so organized it really didn’t feel too crowded. Obviously it made getting a photo without people somewhat more difficult., but that’s all. In a city with 32 million plus people it’s always crowded, but it surprisingly clean, quiet and incredibly polite.

  18. Definitely on my bucket list! Cherry blossoms have a special place in my heart – loved sitting under the pink blooms when they filled the Quad at University of Washington. Ahhh…loved this post. What adventure eaters you have! Pinning for later – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

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