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

Plum Blossoms at Mogusaen in 2019

Mogusaen in Tokyo’s Hino city is usually a very quiet place.  Being out in the very west of the city, it is usually quite empty of people, at least until the plum blossoms come into bloom in late winter, very early spring.  On weekends when its five hundred trees are in bloom it can become incredibly crowded, actually too crowded. It is a great place for the flowers though.

The view from the top of Mogusaen

To start with, Mogusaen might be a little far for some people.  From Shinjuku station it is a thirty-minute train to Mogusaen station, followed by a ten-minute walk to the park.  Since my last visit to Mogusaen, I’d forgotten how steep the climb up to the entrance was. By the time I got up there, I was reminded of my age as I was sweating slightly and a little out of breath.  Seriously, it was a rather steep climb.

But, once I paid my ¥300 entry fee and entered, that was all forgotten.  The flowers were in great shape. For my visit, the flowers were probably I had seen during the 2019 season, right up there with the ones I saw at Shiba Park, so they were very good indeed.    

The highlight of my visit was the the climb to top of the hill at the back of the park.  From there, the view is great, as you overlook most of the trees in the park and you can see all the way down to Shinjuku.  In the opposite direction you can usually see Mount Fuji which is nice, but not for this visit as there was quite a lot of haze on the horizon.  I do have to say that I made a mistake here, in that I visited Mogusaen in the afternoon which put the sun behind the hill. That meant most of the trees were cast in shadow and not nicely lit.  Next year I won’t make the same mistake.

For this visit there was a few small complaints.  The first was that it was very crowded. In previous years I always visited Mogusaen on weekdays, but in 2019 year I took a day off work especially to attend the event on a Sunday.  And to be honest, I regretted doing so. Mogusaen isn’t the biggest of parks and once you get fifty or more people inside, you start to feel a lack of space.

Quite a crowd during weekends

And on top of the crowd, there was also a music event there to keep everyone entertained.  For me though, I like to walk through the flowers and photograph them in near silence, so I found the music a distraction.  But, on the other hand, it was good to see the park management working on new ideas to bring people to the area.

Overall though, I was quite happy with my visit.  The weather was good and the flowers were great. It was the crowd that was the problem, a little too large for my tastes.  With many people walking through and everyone wanting to get shots of plum blossoms, you had to bide your time occasionally.  There was nothing else to do when in a small place and surrounded by so many people. I found myself rushed at times, because I knew people were behind me, waiting their turn, and I didn’t want to keep them waiting.  

Mogusaen’s plum blossom festival goes to March 10, so you still have some time to see it.  I would recommend visiting on a weekday if you want to experience the flowers in a relatively quiet environment.    If you would like to read another article about it, you could try this one.

Gear used for these pictures:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fujifilm XF 10 - 24 mm f/4.0 R OIS

 Fujifilm XF 16 - 55 mm f2.8 R LM WR

Film Simulation - Velvia/Vivid