Keio Mogusaen Walk (京王百草園)
As previously mentioned February and early March in Tokyo is the Japanese Plum Blossom season. We decided to try our first recommendation from A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo by Sumiko Enbutsu, a book I’ll review in more detail in a future entry. So far, I have to say, I like this book.
We went on Walk #37, Keio Mogusa-en Garden. We arrived soon after opening on a sunny, warm, February morning. The train station was decked out in fake plum blossoms to advertise the ume matsuri (梅祭り) that happens from early February until mid-March. During this time period, Mogusaen is open every day, which is good since we were there on the day it is normally closed. The crowds weren’t bad, but things looked to be getting more crowded by the time we left.
Pretty much everyone had a camera. Mine was the smallest and lightest by far. Giant, crazy-expensive cameras are the norm at places like this in Japan. Retired couples (some in their 80s) seemed to be competing to see who could take the better picture with their enormous lenses and tripods both aimed at the same flower.
The ume tree above (寿昌梅) was planted in the early part of the 18th Century by a Buddhist nun called Jushoin (寿昌院). Little, bonsai (盆栽) ume trees surround the bamboo fence around it. Very cute.
Below you can see the thatched roof of the Shorenan (松連庵) farmhouse from the hill behind it. Things actually looked much better in person. It was such a bright day that the sun washed out my photos from this angle. I should have taken them with a quicker shutter speed. Even so, the sky wasn’t blue from this vantage point, even though it wasn’t cloudy. At a different time of day, with the sun not bleaching everything, this same photo may be spectacular.
This last picture may seem like your standard, point-your-camera-straight-up tree photo, but it isn’t. These trees were growing out of the mountain side horizontally.
I’ll have more from Keio Mogusaen, and our subsequent hike (on the same day) and adventures around the City of Hino (日野市), in a future entry.