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Azaleas at Nezu Shrine - 2018

Once again, I went to Nezu shrine in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward to see its azalea festival.  I had been a little worried about being able to see it as this year as the weather has been unseasonably warm and I thought I might once again get the timing wrong like last year and get to it too late to be able to enjoy the flowers fully.  In the end, I had been worrying needlessly as, I think, the flowers were at their peak.  It was a very good day.

Actually, I was dreading the ride in on the morning trains.  The hill on which the flowers are located doesn’t open until 9 pm, which means I can either get a train/subway there extremely early and wait, or, get there at a reasonable time but have risk the morning rush.  I took the latter option with a little trepidation as I had to ride the Marunouchi, one of the most crowded subway lines in Tokyo.  At the back of the line I waited, wondering if my camera would survive the crush and wishing I had left home much earlier.

A sea of red and pink flowers

My fears proved groundless.  Luckily the train I got in Shinjuku was the starting train, which meant that it was empty upon arrival.  So, everyone piled on and we all had a little space.  It was quite comfortable.  The Marunouchi line was followed by the Nanboku line and that even had less people, so my camera and bag survived the rush easily.

Nezu shrine's famous torii

Being a week day, the shrine and hill weren’t overly crowded so taking pictures wasn’t a problem.  There were lots of yatai (stalls, most for food, but a few selling other things), but some of them weren’t open.  And there was a good mix of people, from the young to the old and there also seemed to be many tourists from overseas as well.  Of course many people took advantage of their visit to pray at the shrine.

The line of people waiting to pray

This year I went with two lenses, my 16-55 mm f 2.8 and the XF 55-200 mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens.  They proved to be a good pairing I think.  The 16-55 did most of the wider shots while I used the 55-200 for most of the shots that needed some bokeh in them.  Still, I would one more wider-angle lens for places like this, namely the 10-24 mm.

A very nice day at Nezu shrine with the azaleas

I had absolutely no complaints about my visit.  It was a great day.  Maybe my only mistake was not staying there longer!!  The weather was good overall, overcast in the morning, which wasn’t a problem as the cloud cover made it easier to shoot flowers, especially the lighter-coloured ones.  It was a very satisfying day.

If you want to read about the shrine, you can read my article about it here.  And if you want to see the shrine’s Japanese homepage, you can see that here.