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Who Knew There Was A Butterfly Season In Tokyo?

Went to check on whether the cosmos were blooming yet at Hama-Rikyu Teien garden last week and discovered that the lovely fields of gently nodding multicolored blooms I remembered were looking vastly overgrown and (honestly!) kind of ratty. I was about to stalk away muttering, “Disappointment, thy name is Hama-Rikyu” when the corner of my eye caught a fluttering.

And not just a fluttering, a whole heap of flutterings!

And they weren’t just boring old monarchs and mourning cloaks like I could see back home, they were exotic butterflies I’d never seen before.

This one is rakishly called a Blue Triangle (or Grapheum sarpedon nipponum if you want to go all Latin on me) and it struck me that the combination of those wings and that flower were one of life’s sublime planet-aligning color moments
This beauty is the local Swallowtail morph (Papilio xuthus) and it’s called ageha in Japanese, same as the butterfly girls whose natural habitat is Shibuya 109
And this is an Indian fritillary (Arhynnis hyperbius), sipping a cocktail amid the Tokyo skyscrapers
The male fritillary is not so showy, but still a treat to see franting about in the orange and green
And even though the cosmos weren’t looking their best, there were still plenty of pretty moments
This garden is still a fine place to stroll…
…especially on a fine fall day.

The cosmos are in bloom right now, until late October, and here’s where to see huge fields of them in & around Tokyo. And if you’d like to visit Hama-Rikyu Teien garden the next time you’re in Tokyo, a map & info on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Don’t miss The Last Tea Bowl Thief!

“I don’t know when I’ve been more caught up in a story. A masterful achievement.”—Terry Shames, award-winning author of An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock

In modern-day Tokyo, Robin Swann’s life has sputtered to a stop. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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