I'm on a mission to find the best Sakura events of 2016. From small to big, I'm planning to bring you articles and reviews about the best events and cherry blossom blooming in Tokyo.
A few weeks ago I released an article about the Jindai Plum Festival. A wonderfully splendid display of plum blooms, that were situated fabulously in the large gardens.
How on earth could I top that? I didn't think I could, until I heard about the 250 Sakura trees that were getting ready to bloom at the Hotel Chinzanso in Bunkyo-ku.
The 250 trees are situated in an extremely large garden, with a Three-Story Pagoda that are owned by the hotel.
Chinzanso Garden is scenic all year round. It blooms cherry blossoms, deep green, orange and red glow, and white dusting a of snow on the red and pink camellia.
Camellia Hill (Tsubaki-yama) has been there since the Nambokucho period (1300s). It's known for its wild camellia.
During the Meiji Restoration, Prince Aritomo Yamagata created the Garden. He named the Garden Chinzanso. It means “guest house on Camellia Hill”.
His successor (Baron Heito Fujita) chose to bring in the monuments and Three-Story Pagoda.
Since then there has been events of Sakura viewing.
Naturally I was very interested in the event. In order to get the article out well in advance, I decided to head off a little earlier than full Sakura bloom to view the Garden.
As I was reviewing the event near Ginza in the morning, I decided to go to the Garden in the evening. The hotel recommend the evening for Sakura viewing. I'm sure that during the day is just as spectacular.
When I arrived, I went into the hotel and asked to see the garden. They were very kind and gave me a map, and showed me the way.
I wondered what I was in store for as I walked in the garden. I was truly blown away!
The Sakura was in its very early stages of blooming. A few trees were already full of flowers and others were just starting.
I didn't know where to start. Left or right? I can't say which way I went, but the beauty of the darkness and the lighting against the trees changing colour was spectacular.
After snapping shots of the trees, I decided to go and see the pond. The view was stunning! It was eloquently lit, and you can easily imagine the view with the pagoda in the background with the Sakura trees in the forefront.
I ventured out into more of the garden, and made several discoveries. The best discovery I found was the Zangetsu (tea ceremony) rooms. Most travellers only get to see a tea ceremony in Kyoto, so I was very surprised to find a tea ceremony room. If you are not travelling to Kyoto, then here may be a good place.
There are many other views you can see. You can see the Goshinboku (sacred tree), which is the oldest tree in the garden. It's 500 years old.
There is also the Monument of Chinzanso. It's engraved with the feelings of Prince Yamagata.
Easily the best spots are the Shiratama Inari Shrine. This shrine was taken from the grounds of Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto and moved to Chinzanso in 1924.
Next to the shrine is the Three-Story Pagoda. It's believed to have been built around 600 years ago. No nails have been used to put the Pagoda together. The Pagoda is originally from the mountains of Hiroshima at the temple Chikurin-ji. It moved to Chinzanso Garden in 1925 by Baron Fujita. It takes pride in place surrounded by Sakura trees. It has a prime viewing spot from the deck near the pond.
Near the plaza side of the hotel, there is a waterfall and a Sakura tree. You can view it from both sides of the waterfall.
In the Garden there are restaurants. They are a little expensive. They serve Ryotei Kinsui (Japanese Kaiseki Cuisine), Mokushundo (Japanese Stone Grill) and Muncha-an (Soba Dining). The lowest price is ¥1000.
You can also dine in the hotel, but please note that it's expensive.
The recommended days to go to the cherry blossom viewing is from now until April 10th 2016. The opening times are 12 noon – 11:00pm. Entrance is free.
The closest stations are Mejiro Station on the JR Yamanote line, or Edogawabashi Station on the Metro Yurakucho Line.
As a side note, if you take the Metro, then there is a ten minute walk from the station. If you don't want to walk, then you can take bus number 61 from Mejiro Station on JR line. It takes you right to the hotel.
The Garden is open all year.
Address: 2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo