Tokyo is one seriously crowded metropolis, but there are still pockets of natural beauty everywhere – lots of lovely parks scattered among the skyscrapers. And for about a week or so every spring, they’re all accented by the beautiful white blooms of the cherry trees, or sakura as they are known in Japanese.
We were fortunate to arrive in Tokyo just as the sakura were reaching full bloom, so our first day here we headed for Ueno Park to drink it all in.
Of course, since it was Sunday, a whole bunch of other Tokyo residents had the same idea – apparently it was the place to be!
Nothing like a nice day strolling around the park, just being one with nature – and about 500,000 other people.
Most of the locals had staked out a picnic spot along one of the paths, it was like thousands of little parties going on all at once. It’s not all chaos, though – we found a sign explaining the rules for this activity:
Soon we were hungry, too – so we followed our noses to the alley full of food stands.
Fish sticks, anyone?
We didn’t try those, but we did have some squid-on-a-stick. I forgot to take a picture, but it’s basically a whole grilled squid on a stick, so I think you can imagine it. Yum!
We also tried some octopus balls – not nearly as gross as they sound, along with some more normal food.
Later, we took a scenic cruise in paddleboats on the pond.
The people-watching was spectacular, but after a few hours we had enough of the crowds, and took the subway back to our hotel. Not a bad first day in Japan!