Cherry Blossoms at Chidorigafuchi - 2018
Some things never change and Chidorigafuchi is one them. It is always crowded, really crowded. I’ve never been there during the cherry blossom season, and seen it devoid of people. And this time, as opposed to last year, the cherry blossoms have bloomed extremely early in the season. Someone was telling me on Instagram that this was a result of global warming. I don’t know about that, but anyway, we are well ahead of schedule.
Earlier in the morning I had been to Aoyama Cemetery to see the blossoms there, and it was the most peaceful experience possible. Peaceful and Chidorigafuchi however, are two words that do not go together. This year, like every other I’ve been there, was pandemonium. Not pandemonium in the sense of craziness, but just trying to make your through the crowd. It can be a trial. And if you really hate crowds, avoid the best place to take pictures there, which is the viewing platform above the boat house. It gets insanely crowded, kind of like getting on the Yamanote line during rush hour. However, it is a very polite crowd. You won’t get any get pushes in the back.
Having said that though, if you can make your way through the sea of people you can get some great views and photographs. With the cherry blossoms hanging out over the water and on the banks of the moat it is a beautiful sight. Yes, Chidorgafuchi was once a real moat, once part of the Imperial Palace’s defenses during the Edo period. It would have been an imposing obstacle, as it is extremely wide with steep banks to climb once crossed. Fortunately, it was never tested.
Overall, I thought the trees were in good shape. Probably not their peak, but very close. I would love to be able to go there at night one year, if I can ever get the time. If you didn’t know, for the duration of the event, the moat area is illuminated. I’m ashamed to say, I’ve never seen it!! It is on my bucket list, and hopefully I’ll be there for some night photography, ONE DAY!
If you are ever in Tokyo for the cherry blossom season, please visit Chidorigafuchi. As long as you can handle the crowds, it does offer some great views of the moat and those lovely cherry blossoms. And I think I have to admit, it is even starting to grow on me.