The Best Tokyo Illuminations 2017

It’s time again for the best free holiday light show ever! Here are this year’s Tokyo Illuminations offerings, some of them even better than before: • TOKYO MIDTOWN This year’s “Starlight Garden” extravaganza is super lavish, with different shows for each night of the week. There’s a four-minute blue and white spin around the galaxy,Continue reading “The Best Tokyo Illuminations 2017”

The Best Tokyo Winter Illuminations 2015

Are you ready once again to have holiday lights spoiled for-e-ver by the insanely great Tokyo Illuminations? This year, the old favorites do not disappoint, but there are a couple of new contenders amid the light-up extravaganzas going on right now in Tokyo! Feast your eyes on… • TOKYO DOME CITY The Tokyo Dome City amusement park puts onContinue reading “The Best Tokyo Winter Illuminations 2015”

The Best Places To See Late-Blooming Cherry Trees In Tokyo

Many a cherry blossom party has been thwarted by wacky weather or unavoidable business trips, but even if the gods throw a wrench into your best-laid plans, don’t despair! Late-blooming yaezakura come into their full glory after the regular sakura fade to black. The late-bloomers don’t deliver the big pink cloud thing in quite the same way, but I secretly think they’re much more beautifulContinue reading “The Best Places To See Late-Blooming Cherry Trees In Tokyo”

The Best SECRET Cherry Blossom Spots In Tokyo!

Cherry blossoms and crowds go together like long bathroom lines and hanami parties, but at these secret Tokyo spots, you can enjoy the pinkness without getting trampled, even at peak season! Here are my favorite places: • ARK HILLS New for 2019! Best time to go: It’s pretty uncrowded all the time but it’s best when theContinue reading “The Best SECRET Cherry Blossom Spots In Tokyo!”

Where To See The Best Plum Blossoms In Tokyo

I am a total, total sucker for plum blossoms. The flowers are much more beautiful than cherry blossoms up close, and you gotta admire that the damn things even bloom in the snow. I mean, they famously bloom in the snow (thousands of haiku can’t be wrong.) Here are my favorite places in Tokyo to see them,Continue reading “Where To See The Best Plum Blossoms In Tokyo”

How To Walk Across The Rainbow Bridge!

This has to be the most gorgeous walk in Tokyo. If you start at twilight, you can see the entire Tokyo waterfront slowly light up like the best holiday light show ever! Here’s how I do it: I get off the train at Tamachi station and go out the main exit. There’s about a five minute walk, across two canals, untilContinue reading “How To Walk Across The Rainbow Bridge!”

Where To See The Best Fall Leaves In Tokyo

I hope you’re all rested up from our cherry blossom death march last spring, because it’s time to strap on your camera and a couple of extra batteries to hunt down the best autumn leaves in Tokyo! Here are my picks, from momiji season through ginkgo: Arranged from earliest to latest: SHOWA KINEN PARK – Tachikawa TellContinue reading “Where To See The Best Fall Leaves In Tokyo”

Where To See The Best Chrysanthemums In Tokyo

These eye-popping exhibitions will change your opinion of those humble fall flowers forever! Here’s where to see the best chrysanthemums in Tokyo: • JINDAI BOTANICAL GARDEN Dates: October 25 – November 17th (2019) Admission: Adults: ¥500, Children: ¥250 • Dates: November 1-17 (2019) Admission: Free • YUSHIMA TENJIN SHRINE Dates: November 1-23 Admission: Free • SHINJUKU GYOUENContinue reading “Where To See The Best Chrysanthemums In Tokyo”

Up To My Knees In A Vermilion Sea

As you may have guessed by now, in Japan no flower is safe from being planted together en masse, in order to deliver total sensory overload at the appointed moment. It’s no surprise that cherry blossoms, wisteria and azaleas all vie to attract record crowds as they burst into bloom, but who knew that lesser-known denizens have their ownContinue reading “Up To My Knees In A Vermilion Sea”

Peonies As Big As Dinner Plates!

Not to be outdone by the cherry blossoms, azaleas and wisteria, the peonies of Tokyo come into their glory in May and June! First the big boys, like these at the Hama-Rikyu Garden, then the lovely fragrant ones at Nishiarai Daishi Temple. If you’d like to visit the Hama-Rikyu Teien garden or Nishiarai Daishi temple orContinue reading “Peonies As Big As Dinner Plates!”

Alt Cherry

So, during cherry blossom season, people naturally flock to places with maximum pink fluffiness. But if you don’t have any real blooming cherry trees of epic proportions, how do you avoid being the location equivalent of Forever Alone? Behold the ingenuity of even the stodgiest of institutions… •

Cherry Blossoms Lit Up At Night: My Favorite Spots!

Oh no, don’t think you can put your feet up and flip some channels after the sun goes down during cherry blossom season – thanks to the current craze for “illuminations,” the ogling opportunities will seriously cut into your TV time. Here are my favorite nighttime viewing spots. Get thee to the nearest grove and give your camera aContinue reading “Cherry Blossoms Lit Up At Night: My Favorite Spots!”

The Godzilla Of Cherry Trees

Don’t let this big daddy sneak up on you in the dark! In Japan they don’t mess around when it comes to cherry trees. I saw this explosion of goodness last night at Rikugi-en garden in Tokyo, where they light up the all-powerful sakura until 9:00 every night during The Season. But this one isn’t the only monsterContinue reading “The Godzilla Of Cherry Trees”

Today’s Special Guest: Winter

Conveniently scheduled for a national holiday so hundreds of thousands of commuters wouldn’t be inconvenienced by trains that occasionally had to pause while snow and/or ice and/or tree limbs could be cleared from the tracks, this year’s 24 hours of winter did not disappoint! Snow bucketed down from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as theContinue reading “Today’s Special Guest: Winter”

The Leaves Are Nice, But It’s All About The Sticky Rice Balls

Yeah, yeah, I know – leaves glowing in autumnal splendor, fall evening clear and crisp, moon shining bright, pond like a mirror, and the photos are sure to wow the folks back home. But let’s go bottom line: it’s really all about the miso dango. I’ve waited ALL YEAR for the Rikugi-en garden in Komagome toContinue reading “The Leaves Are Nice, But It’s All About The Sticky Rice Balls”

So How Come Azaleas Are Chopped Liver?

Cherry blossoms are definitely the favorite child. Back in March, as The Season approached, the newspapers all breathlessly reported the movement of the pink tide from south to north, weather forecasts were read as anxiously as tea leaves in order to plan trips to cherry infested locations at the exact moment of full bloom, andContinue reading “So How Come Azaleas Are Chopped Liver?”

Today’s Cute Little Season: Winter

One thing I have to say about the seasons in Japan is that they’re relentlessly picturesque. And convenient! When I woke up Wednesday morning, I looked out the window and was delighted to see it had been snowing since 3:00 a.m. – even my ho-hum neighborhood had a charming blanket of white. There was enoughContinue reading “Today’s Cute Little Season: Winter”