April 6, 2014

Harimazaka's Hanami Culture

Visiting Harimazaka, the hill that slopes down from the Myogadani to the Koishikawa area, during cherry blossom season is turning into a bit of a tradition.

And why not? It truly is one of the best viewing spots in Tokyo.

Crowded spaces in Tokyo usually make me feel anxious very quickly, but the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties held on Harimazaka every year truly draw people from all walks of life, united in their appreciation for the trees.

One side of the path is taped off for pedestrians; the other half is free for visitors to use for picnics and drunken night parties.  (In Japan, public drinking is only a problem when someone becomes horribly belligerent.)

This felt a bit unfair: claiming portions of the path ahead of time. This sign indicates the day, time and number of people who will be using the space.

Dog, preening.

Employees from nearby companies get together after work. Since cherry blossom season coincides with the start of a new fiscal year, it's a good excuse to bond with co-workers.

These people had brought a portable grill with an actual pot, which I found endlessly amusing.

Dinner courtesy of a nearby supermarket. People actually brought their own card tables!

The coveted night view.

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