Sakura viewing at Chidorigafuchi and Yasukuni shrine

I had a few spare hours one morning in Tokyo in early April, which was just as the Cherry Blossom was peaking there.
I caught the subway over towards the Imperial Palace and the Chidorigafuchi moat, which is one of a dozen different moats around the palace, that are known for their spectacular Cherry Blossoms.
The Cherry Blossoms are absolutely stunning along the path and it must be one of the best places to view them, although Hanami places seem to be in short supply.  But it is a beautiful walk along the moat around the Imperial Palace.
I went pretty early, so there weren’t as many people around, which made it great for picture taking, but also ease of walking around and stopping at the “best” viewing spots.  But if you go during the day you can hire boats and row along under the falling petals.

Actually judging by the layer of petals on the water, I think it must have just about turned past the peak.  It looked like snow whenever the wind blew.
I continued walking and found myself at Yasukuni Shrine, which is somewhere I hadn’t visited before, although I have obviously seen it mentioned a lot in the news, both here and overseas.  I somehow wasn’t expecting it to be so pretty, but it is a lovely shrine at Sakura time, that’s for sure.
This Shinto shrine is in central Tokyo and is dedicated to the remembrance of “those who have died in the service of the Emperor” and there are over 2.4 million names enshrined there.  Its a very controversial shrine, because some of those enshrined there are war criminals which has led to tension between various countries over the shrine and public visits by officials and famous people.  There is a museum here and the gardens are also very pretty, lots of cherry blossom and a beautiful pond at the back of the shrine.

 

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