Tokyo in Pics


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

Chrysanthemums at Shinjuku Gyoen - 2018

I actually went to Shinjuku Gyoen twice in 2018 to see its annual chrysanthemum exhibit.  Both days were superb with the weather making both visits very memorable. I went once in the morning and once in the late afternoon.  On the morning I visited, it was crowded of course which meant I had to wait occasionally for people to move away so I could get my shots.  The second time I went was better, just before closing time meant fewer people, but I had only a limited time to shoot.

Shinjuku Gyoen and some of its chrysanthemums at sunset, with the NTT DOCOMO building behind

That is the hardest thing photographing the chrysanthemums at the park.  There are only a limited number of display areas in the park that have them which means you are always going to get people in your shots.  So it is either take your shot and have people in the way, or wait for them to move on and then take your photographs at your own pace. Waiting for people to move though, can take some time so consider yourself warned!

A Kengai bed at Shinjuku Gyoen

My favourite chrysanthemum display at Shinjuku Gyoen was the ozukuri, as it has been for a number of years.  Ozukuri are domes made up of hundreds of blooms.   I always find them a little hard to photograph as never know whether to shoot them from straight on or from the side.  Anyway, I put shots taken from both angles here for you to see.

Some of the Ozukuri

The only thing I did different this year with this shoot was use a wide angle lens, the Fujifilm 10-24 mm len.  I think the results from it were a mixed bag. When shooting up close, some corners got a little stretched, which wasn’t very desirable, but they could just be a matter of technique I guess.

This hexagonal flower bed was made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Meiji era. A similar structure was on display at Asakusa Gyoen in 1905.

While I was in Shinjuku Gyoen I started to think, are chrysanthemums popular?  I mean, when you hear people talk about flowers they usually mention roses, cherry blossoms, hydrangeas and wisteria, right?  And I know in Australia, they are given on Mother’s Day while in Japan they are the Imperial Seal but other than that, you rarely hear them mentioned in any “flower” conversation.  But judging by the number of people you see at these exhibits in Tokyo, they seem to be very popular.

As always Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the best place to see chrysanthemums in Tokyo as the display.  I won’t say greatest anymore, as I recently found a place to rival it and that article will be appearing here in the next few days.  But overall, due to layout and the location it is superb.

If you have any comment or questions please leave them in the section below.  And if you visited the park in 2018 to see the chrysanthemums please let me know what you thought about it.  

You can see Shinuku Gyoen’s website here.