Things I Did Not Know You Could Do With A Lotus Leaf

This morning I was at the Sankei-en garden in Yokohama at the ungodly hour of 7:00 a.m. to see their field of lotus in bloom, but it was the bonus attractions that really made my day!

Sankei-en has special early weekend opening hours during The Season, because (who knew?) lotus flowers only bloom in the morning, and they don’t sleep in. They open at first light, and are already starting to close up again by 9:00, so ya gotta really strap on your alarm clock to catch them at their peak.

But the good folks at Sankei-en make it worth your while!

It goes without saying that they’ve got lots and lots of gorgeous blooms freshly opened each morning

Most of them are that heavenly shade of lotus pink…

…but if you look hard, you can find a few delicate pink and white ones…

…and white ones with the thinnest picotee edge, hiding among the leaves

But the best part about the special early opening festivities were the hilariously educational exhibits.

If I’m ever stuck on a desert island with only a lotus plant for company, my shower needs are totally covered

And I’ll never be bored, as long as I can dip a lotus leaf into a bowl of dish soap

Here’s a close-up of that trimmed-down bad boy. Huh, in this photo it looks like plastic, but I know it’s a real leaf because I watched the guy cut it!

As you can see, there was no shortage of blooming lotus treasure hunting

And afterwards I took a wee stroll around the rest of the garden…

…which wasn’t too shabby either

Sankei-en’s early opening lotus program: 6:00 – 8:30 am, only on Saturdays, Sundays & national holidays

When: July 13 – August 4 (2019)

Garden admission: ¥700 (Early lotus hours and demonstrations are free once you’re in the gate)

How to get to Sankei-en garden from the Negishi train station

You could walk (it takes about 30 minutes) but it’s faster and easier to take the bus. Here’s how:

• Outside the Negishi train station exit (there’s only one), you’ll see an array of bus stops. The first one to your left is where to catch the buses that stop nearest Sankei-en. The shelter is clearly marked, like this:

See that green sign on the little fence? That’s the place where you line up to take the bus to Sankei-en

You can take the 58, 99 or 101 bus to Sankeien, and they all pick up passengers at this shelter. Tap your transit card on the Suica pad near the driver as you get on (or pay ¥220 for adults or ¥110 for children) then find a seat. The stop you’ll get off at is called Honmoku (本牧) and it’s the eighth stop on non-express buses. The driver will announce it, but it will also be displayed on the electronic signboard above the driver’s head when you get close.

When you get off at Honmoku, you’ll be at a big intersection. From the corner you can see the street you’ll walk down to reach Sankei-en, and also the bus shelter for your return to the station.

Cross the wide street and turn into the smaller one. It’s less than a ten minute walk from there to the garden gate.

After a long day of lotus hunting and bubble blowing, you’ll need a novel set in Tokyo

“A genuinely gripping crime thriller which wrong-foots and perplexes the reader throughout, drawing us in emotionally . . . Highly recommended.” Raven Crime Reads

For nine years, Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura thought his mother’s death was an accident. Then he gets a call, and his life begins to unravel. Because if it wasn’t an accident…what was it? Read more