Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sakura (櫻花) - Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑)

God was kind to us. Despite getting to Japan late for Sakura, we saw wonderful Sakura (Cherry Blossom) in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (新宿御苑).

The imperial gardens, which were once meant for the royalty, were completed in 1906, and destroyed in 1945, during the later stages of World War II. The jurisdiction over the Imperial Palace Outer Garden and the Kyoto imperial garden was transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (now part of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) with Shinjuku Imperial Gardens in 1947.

It was on May 21, 1949 that the gardens became open to the public as "National park Shinjuku Imperial Gardens".

Covering 58 hectares, Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo's largest parks. It was opened to the public in 1949, after it had served as a garden for the Imperial Family since 1903.

Shinjuku Gyoen features three garden types: an English landscape garden with wide lawns, a traditional Japanese garden with teahouses and a symmetrically arranged, formal French garden. Furthermore, there are some forested areas and a greenhouse (the greenhouse is being reconstructed until 2011).

Shinjuku Gyoen is home to a large number of cherry trees of more than a dozen different species, making the park one of Tokyo's most popular and pleasant hanami spots during late March and most of April when Sakura is in its fullest bloom.

So many keen photographers turned up looking to catch a great pic of the Sakura. Man, Japanese loves photography and their cameras. It was a warm sunny day. We were showered upon by falling Sakura pedals. (pic.1) :)

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