Freezing in Tokyo’s winter and longing for the spring? Well, the Sakura season may still be a few weeks away in March, but nature has already started to feel the change and the Plum blossoms are starting to make their presence felt. Yes, In Tokyo and already!!!
The first signs of the spring in Tokyo begin with the Plum blossoms in the Mukojima Hyakka-en Garden, usually in the second week of February. There are other locations like the Kameido Tenjin where you can enjoy great plum blossoms in Tokyo, but Mukojima Hyakka-en which is close to the Tokyo Skytree, is usually first every year in terms of the blossoms. A small and a quiet place with around 60-70 plum trees and very less crowds….
Personally I prefer the deep pink color of the plum blossoms as opposed to the faint pink cherry blossoms in March… Mukojima Hyakka-en is kind of a well hidden place in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, and crowds here are relatively thin which actually enhances the flower viewing (hanami) experience. The garden is said to be the only surviving flower garden from the Edo Period. An entrance fee of 150 yen, a very nominal one, is charged for entry to the garden.
The season starts quite early in this garden and even in the first week of February you can have view of the blossoms, which is partly still in the buds stage, just set to bloom very soon. The best time is second half of February.
The garden is not a very big one like Rikugien or Hamarikyu but is the right size and not much popularly known making it a hidden gem in the town.
With the proximity to the Tokyo Skytree Oshiage area the garden gives a lot of views of the tower which has majestically sprung up in the garden background, changing the skyline for ever. You can also come in the night during the Plum blossoms days since the park stays open longer in the season.
There are traditional tea ceremonies also held in the tea house inside the garden, you need to book in advance though.We had to just stand outside and watch the action inside… Grrr. The entrance to that tatami style room is slightly costly at 3700 yen, but pretty sure the experience is guaranteed. Just snaps from the outside for me…
Keeping the flowers aside, we were intrigued by this stone pillar with the inscription “nihonbashi” and wonder how it got here. The Japanese text on the left also just supposes that it belongs to the Nihonbashi Bridge. Wonder what all history has this pillar been witness to…
We went first week of February which is relatively early and the plum blossom was not at 100% of the volume. Suggest that third week of February is the best time to visit.
The location is as per the google maps below.
There are sufficient signs on the road as the one below in English which you can follow for directional help to the gardens. Don’t tell your friends, else it will get crowded 🙂 🙂 Happy Plum Blossom viewing!!!