Parks, Gardens & Nature

Ajisai & The Rainy Season

Jun 11th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Parks, Gardens & Nature, Tokyo and Vicinity

You may have though it was all bad news when you heard that Japan’s rainy season officially started this week but it’s doesn’t rain everyday and the weather is still relatively cool and pleasant – in fact it’s great sightseeing weather!    One of the best things to do this time of year is to take [...]



Zen Gardens – Pockets of Tranquility

Jun 8th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Kyoto, Parks, Gardens & Nature

The beauty and tranquility of a well designed karesansui or dry garden is often spoken of but seldom experienced.  Take some time to visit one in person or simply meditate for a moment upon the images below from some of Japan’s most famous Zen gardens. Banryutei Rock Garden Image Credit: Flickr, Zen garden / Koya [...]



Meiji Jingu Iris Garden

May 22nd, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Events, Parks, Gardens & Nature, Tokyo and Vicinity

Meandering rows of irises, known as ayame or shoubu in Japanese, bloom each June in the garden located with the precincts of Meiji Jingu Shrine.  The vibrant purple and white of the flowers are set off beautifully by the the verdant green of the grass and trees along a creek that seems to go on [...]



Floating around Shinobazu Pond in Ueno

Apr 8th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Featured Articles, Parks, Gardens & Nature, Tokyo and Vicinity

Rent yourself a pedal-powered swan and float around Shinobazu pond in Ueno Park – it’s a bit kitschy but still a somewhat graceful way to spend a half hour on a sunny afternoon in Tokyo. We rented our swan boat during the peak cherry blossom viewing season which offered a break from the crowds admiring [...]



Let’s Hanami in Tachikawa!

Mar 17th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Parks, Gardens & Nature, Photo Gallery, Tokyo and Vicinity

Kids playing along a meandering stream under the cherry blossoms with families picnicking nearby.  It’s a common pastime during spring in Japan and TokyoDan, today’s guest photographer, captured the feeling beautifully in this shot of Negawa Stream in Tachikawa. In his own words: “One afternoon during Hana-mi (Cherry Blossom Viewing season) My wife took me [...]



In a Sakura Kimono

Mar 10th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Parks, Gardens & Nature, Photo Gallery, Tokyo and Vicinity

A young women in a lovely spring kimono decorated with cherry blossoms at Shinjuku Gyoen. Just last Saturday, I made my first visit to Shinjuku Gyoen and found the spring flowers of Japan starting to bloom.  The grass hadn’t even turned green but  photographers surrounded the few cherry blossom trees that had overcome the cool [...]



Flowers of Spring in Japan

Mar 5th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Events, Parks, Gardens & Nature

Spring is fast on its way to Japan and with spring comes a fascination with her flowers.  The cherry blossom season is so anticipated that there are even calendars that will tell you when the cherry blossoms will start to bloom. The best way to celebrate the flowers of spring in Japan is to head [...]



Live Images from Japan’s National Parks & Wetlands

Feb 18th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Parks, Gardens & Nature

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands throughout the world.  It was adopted in Ramsar, Iran in 1971 and Japan joined 1980. Kushiro-shitsugen in Hokkaido was Japan’s first Ramsar site and is a habitat for endangered Japanese cranes (pictured below).   Ramsar sites in [...]



The Reward of Mountain Climbing in Japan

Jan 27th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Outdoor Activities & Sporting Events, Parks, Gardens & Nature, Photo Gallery

Guest photographer Chris shares this stunning image of Mt. Yari from Mt Washiba in Nagano, located in the Chubu Region of Japan.  He’s an avid hiker and mountain climber when he’s not working at a hedge fund in Tokyo.  Thanks Chris, it’s a beautiful shot that makes me want to pull out my dusty hiking [...]



The Art of The Japanese Garden

Dec 17th, 2008 | By Shane Sakata | Category: History & Culture, Parks, Gardens & Nature, Tokyo and Vicinity

To visit a garden in Japan is to take a step away from reality.  Many of these gardens are a calm oasis in the center of very vibrant and bustling communities and they offer visitors an opportunity to relax and forget, if just for a moment or two, the hectic pace just beyond the garden [...]