Spring in Tokyo is an ethereal sight. The weather is becoming warmer, trees have shed their winter covers, and those branches that stretch into the sky are shrouded in pink petals. Cherry Blossom, or Sakura, is Japan’s symbol and national flower. These cherry blossoms trees are deeply revered in Japanese culture as they symbolise the transient nature of life, beautiful yet fleeting.
When the season rolls round, the people of Tokyo pack picnic baskets and gather underneath the cherry blossom trees— to adore and to celebrate this ephemeral phenomenon.
Sakura hubuki, which means ‘a rainfall of cherry blossoms’ in Japanese, is exactly how Tokyo looks like in April.
On our recent trip to Tokyo, we followed goddess serendipity and chanced upon an unassuming neighbourhood near Waseda University and much to our surprise, we were literally under a Sakura Hubuki – an ornamental bloom of white, purple and pale pink surrounds Omokagebashi Bridge.
The Omokagebashi Bridge is one of the little bridges that lies over the Kanda River. After getting off at the nearby eponymous tram station, we wondered at first whether we were at the right place. The immediate vicinity was a worryingly nondescript Tokyo urban neighbourhood.
Turning into a side road leading to the Kanda river, we approached Omokagebashi Bridge, and were rewarded with Sakura blossoms lining both sides of the river.
We were speechless and in awe of what we saw and concluded that this has to be the most underrated cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo because we could still count on our fingers the number of onlookers who briefly stopped by the bridge.
These Sakura blooms continue from Omokagebashi bridge eastwards to Edogawa bridge. However, the densest blooms can be found surrounding Omokagebashi bridge itself. The Kanda river flow was also at its most furious here, providing a nice contrast to the gently swaying petals above it. Further down towards Edogawa bridge, the blooms start to thin out, and correspondingly, the river flow slowed down to a tepid meander.
Omokagebashi Bridge’s proximity to the Waseda campus meant students didn’t have far to travel, to enjoy one of Tokyo’s best Hanami treats. The fact it wasn’t too crowded meant they weren’t too eager on sharing their secret spot. Also, the bridge has regular vehicular traffic traversing, so avid photographers would do well to take note of their surroundings.
We’ll never get over springtime in Japan; however short-lived these beauties of nature are, they will always enchant visitors from around the world to experience hanami (Cherry blossom viewing festival).
All photographs taken by Discoverist.sg.
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3, Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Get on Toden Arakawa Line (Tokyo Tram) and alight at Omokagebashi Station