Our next few days in Tokyo would be a lot calmer with no scooting across town to visit several different sights in one day. Instead we would be just taking time to enjoy a few select destinations that we had been meaning to visit from the beginning of our trip.
We dedicated a day to visiting one of our favourite places, Akihabara, in the hopes of finding new anime figurines for our collection. This involves walking slowly through stores scanning display cabinets, digging behind boxes that completely fill the shelves and crouching down low to peer behind items in the front row, hoping to find that elusive figure you want. It’s definitely one of our mild obsessions as we would come back time and time again to check for anything new over the course of our stay.
As the day drew to a close Callum slowly became tired and lethargic and by the time we returned to the hotel he felt so unwell he couldn’t leave for dinner. The next morning he was still bed ridden so while he spent the day recuperating, I decided to go find more cherry blossom viewing spots which I could revisit with Callum once he was better.
After a late lunch my first stop was Shinjuku Gyoen – a large national park placed neatly within the urban environment surrounding it. The sheer amount of blossoming trees here was impressive enough as I constantly found new ones along every new path I casually ventured down, each more splendid than the last. They also have several different varieties of blossoms, including late blooming ones for those that miss the peak flowering season. The layout of the park featured expansive lawn areas made it feel large and spacious even though there were huge crowds of people there. You never felt the need to rush or fight your way to the front to take photos as there was plenty for everyone to view and the noise of the city streets seemed miles away. Truly one of my favourite parks to view the cherry blossoms and I would recommend it to anyone.
My next place to visit was the Meguro River which had cherry blossoms lining its edges. From the station I carefully navigated down the narrow streets to find the river conveniently at the end with only a small crowd of people along the bridge taking photos. I walked along the one of the side paths, amazed at how the trees had grown (or more likely, been trained) to form an arch over the path to hang into the river. I do wish I had found the spot where the trees overlap each other (as seen in the first part of this page) but what I did get to see was beautiful.
Something I realised that day was how liberating it was to travel around by yourself, to go where ever you wanted and to set your own pace. While I only had one day of traveling solo, I think I can more fully appreciate the appeal of those who choose to travel alone.
The following morning Callum was finally starting to get back to normal and wanted to get out of the hotel room. I took him back to Shinjuku Gyoen (this time without getting lost) and we explored much more of the parks’ many gardens including the discovery of the glasshouse, a nice escape from the cold wind that morning.