It was a perfect early Spring day: sunshine and temperatures of about 10 degrees. Time to stroll through one of Tokyo’s largest city center parks. The early narcissus were in full bloom under the still barren cherry tree branches, attracting avid photographers. Also out were early Ume (plum) blossoms, which attracted some cute green finches.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden covers 57.6 hectares and dates back to an Imperial mandate of 1906. It was laid out as a European style park, with a formal French rose garden, an extensive chrysanthemum field tended by gardeners from the Imperial Household, an English landscape garden, an azalea hill, a traditional Japanese garden, and a large greenhouse (undergoing renovation, re-opens in 2012).
Year ‘round there will always be a reason to visit this lovely garden: in Spring, about 1300 cherry trees representing 65 different varieties must be an astonishing sight. These are followed by the azaleas, then the roses in Summer and the chrysanthemums in Fall. What a visual treat for those living and working in the skyscrapers surrounding the garden!