Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Japan, Days 1-3: Tokyo - Stopping to Smell the Blossoms

Planning a trip to see the cherry blossoms can be stressful. The time of the peak bloom can vary by a week or two year to year, and one wind storm or heavy downpour can clear most of the petals from the trees. Add to this that the cherry blossom forecast is being continuously updated, so if you follow along (which we would not recommend after you have bought your tickets and booked accommodation), you might go from thinking you'll be too late, to too early, to right on time. All this to say, we were very relieved to see cherry trees in what would pass for our layperson eyes as full bloom when we began to wander Tokyo.

We walked through Ueno park and Yanaka Cemetery near our apartment and marvelled in the exuberance and calm that comes with being surrounded by so much beauty. We were especially happy to see that the playground by our flat had plenty of trees in bloom since we went there once or twice a day.

Walking was easy, even with the stroller, though we found that Google would lead us to massive staircases and give us no hints as to where we might find an elevator to an overpass. We quickly adapted and had our heads on swivels looking for the green elevator signs anytime there was an imminent threat of stairs.

On our most adventurous Tokyo outing to date, we walked to the Asakusa neighbourhood to visit a Buddhist temple, a market, and a gluten-free bakery. We had planned on going down to the river to see more blossoms, but it proved one thing too many for Baby. After grabbing a quick lunch at an Izakaya (Japanese informal pub), we caught the bus home. Baby was an especially big fan of the deep-fried tofu, and pulling everything off the table.

We were very happy that we chose this area of the city as our home-base, as it provided a peaceful respite from the bustling crowds which were to follow...

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