Tokyo Begins with Cherry Tree Blooms

Tokyo has been named by fellow travelers as their favorite city, and we can certainly see their point. Trying to see Tokyo and learn about Japanese history and culture in 3 days was like drinking out of a waterfall, not just a fire hydrant. Of course, the history and culture lessons will continue for the next two weeks, but the sights of Tokyo were truncated by our short time there.

Japan, at 130 million, is the 10th most populated country in the world. It is the 9th most densely populated country (not counting city-states). In comparison, it is about the size of Finland, which has only 5 million people.

13 million people live in the official Tokyo metropolitan area. Greater Tokyo, at 35 million people, is the most populated urban area in the world. (#2 – Seoul and #3 – Jakarta). This fascinating megalopolis (I love this word; it makes me think of Snuffleupagus) is a mélange of glitterama, reverence and history.

I must start with a weeping cherry tree in splendorous bloom. We would see many over the next few days, but we stumbled upon this one in a quiet residential neighborhood, and we had it completely to ourselves. That was a rare treat.

A Weeping Cherry Blossom Tree.  This picture doesn't do it justice.
A Weeping Cherry Tree. This picture doesn’t do it justice.
Another private blossom viewing
Another private blossom viewing

In general, where the cherry trees were in bloom, there were crowds.









Our hotel street near Tokyo Station

We had some other great flora sightings as well.

Camellia tree in a Tokyo residential neighborhood
Camellia tree in a Tokyo residential neighborhood
Serene parks, even on a cloudy day.
Serene parks, even on a cloudy day.
Mustard? or Canola? in Hama Rikyu Garden


Up next, Walking Tokyo’s Neighborhoods.


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