Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Cherry blossoms at Aoyama cemetery - 2017

Every year I go to Aoyama cemetery for the cherry blossoms.  Without doubt that cemetery is one of my favourite places in Tokyo.  Whatever the time of year I can shoot there for hours and hours.  It is just great.  Now it is spring and the cherry blossoms are here so when I woke up I looked out the window to check the weather, saw that it was great, got dressed, quickly ate breakfast, grabbed my camera and gear, then headed outside.  It was promising to be a good day.  I was ready, and I was going to enjoy it.

Tokyo Tower seen from Aoyama cemetery during the 2017 cherry blossom season

As far as I’m concerned, Aoyama cemetery is the best place in Tokyo for cherry blossoms.  Every time I go there, there are hardly any people around.  It is just me, my camera and whoever else I wander into, usually people who have come to visit a particular grave, another cameraman or someone walking their dog.  That’s it.  There are no parties there, no crowds, no one drinking.  It is my type of place, nice and quiet, the type of place you go to if you just want to enjoy the trees and a little solitude in the big city.

The road that goes through the middle of Aoyama cemetery is very famous for this scene

Why do I like it so much?  It’s the whole package - the graves, the trees, the atmosphere, the view, the history.  Aoyama cemetery has it all.  If I had to single out one thing I most like about it though, I’d probably say it’s the symbiosis of the graves and trees.  Some of the trees are extremely close to the graves and the way they complement each other so well.  It is very, very attractive.

But things never go entirely as planned, do they?  I was expecting the trees to be at their very best.  Once again, they weren’t. Such is my luck.  All week I’ve being saying that in another day or two, the cherry blossoms would peak.  I thought today would be THE day.  Well, they were fairly close, but being fairly close is only close, no cigar.

On his way to work?

Still, I enjoyed my time there immensely.  There is nothing better in life, for me anyway, than spending time outside with a camera walking in a beautiful place taking pictures of something that takes one’s interest.  The weather was warm, the sun was out and the trees were looking pretty good.  It was a very, very nice morning.  And there is always next year to look forward to!

If you want to read more Aoyama cemetery, you can read my article about it here and you can see the cemetery’s website here.