After having a nice dinner in Tokyo the night before; we awoke nice and refreshed. We wouldn't be leaving for Nagoya until 130pm, so the Missus was really interested in checking things out. She was really excited about getting to see the Sakura. I'd been monitoring the Cherry Blossom Forecast and told the Missus we'd probably be missing things in Tokyo (until we returned) and Nagoya, but looked like we were on schedule for Kyoto. Still, I decided we should go to Ueno Park.
But first, breakfast. The Missus really enjoyed breakfast at Yaesu Hatsufuji on our last trip and wanted to eat the simple, but satisfying Japanese breakfast here again. We found a convenient locker, near the JR office, stowed our bags, and found the restaurant soon after.
It was still early, so we strolled around a bit. When we got back to the restaurant, there was already a line!
The Missus enjoys the tea that is provided. She went with the Natto Set (620¥) again; which She loves.
What really surprised me this time around was how good the sashimi was!
I got the Tonjiro Set (520¥), with the exchange rate a bargain at about $4.75!
The miso and pork based soup/stew was quite comforting, not too salty....in spite of being the end of March, there was still a bit of a chill in the air in the morning and this did the trick. Man, that rice was really good too......something that I notice about the Japan.
This place is a favorite of ours. I've posted on it before, so I'll leave it at that.
Yaesu underground shopping center North 1, 2-1, Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-0028
So, this is Japan. You eat and get the heck out of dodge....breakfast was less than 20 minutes long so it was not long before we caught the JR Yamanote Line, getting off in Ueno in less than ten minutes.
Ueno Park is pretty large, with a number of Museums and a Zoo on its property. But, we were here for the cherry blossoms. The thing that stuck with us the most about our visit here is learning about the phenomenon of the Hanami Party.
So Hanami basically means "flower viewing" and it's obvious that in this case it means Cherry Blossom viewing. But there's this kind of interesting, for us, a bit goofy, thing called a Hanami Party. Here it seems like folks reserve a spot....setting our plastic tarps to celebrate. It looks like someone needs to keep on the reserved bit of real estate until the party. Man, it was still pretty darn cold at night here.....that's kind of nuts. It does seem like the "spring renewal" has an effect on people....there's this infectious, well, goofiness that is all around. Hope springs eternal.
And for all the partiers, there're the folks who can't walk past a tree without taking a photo.....two interesting groups.....
And while things weren't quite perfect yet....those folks will probably be spending a few more cold nights sleeping on tarps in the park, the transposition of colors is still quite stunning.
I saw a small folded tarp with one guy lying on it....just enough space for him.....which is when I asked the Missus; "is there such a thing as a hanami party for one?"
Just ask the statue of Prince Komatsu Akihito.
It seems that it was all "Hanami" for us right now.......which distracted me from all else that Ueno Park has to offer.
Though I did take some time to check out a couple of things. Like the Hair Pagoda for Priest Tenkai......check out the link. It's an interesting story...plus, he lived to be 108!
And based on all the food (and drink) booths around; this must be some kind of party at night........
By this time, the Missus was ready to head back to Tokyo Station....though it was still early. So I thought we'd head out of the station.
And around the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.
And over to Kitanomaru Park. Where we strolled around and saw two young ladies pushing carts with very young kids in it.....
It was fun watching the little ones having their day at the park......
We enjoyed walking the trails.....
Soon enough, it was time to head back to Tokyo Station. We decided to walk through the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. This is the Tōkagakudō, the music hall.....
I think there were places open on this visit that were closed off the last time we were here. Of course, folks were enjoying the Cherry Blossoms here as well.
We got back to the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station and the Missus decided She wanted to try one of the "sakura" drinks at Tully's Coffee.
Which She enjoyed.
I guess that's the deal with spring here. Everything is born anew....hope is in the air....life begins.....and you have no choice but to enjoy it.
Thanks for reading!