Cherry Blossom Photo Tours are sometimes overlooked due to the sheer amount of activities to take part in while visiting Tokyo. Take, for example, photographing Shinjuku’s Gyoen Park, which I believe is woefully undervalued. The park’s samurai history alone should bring it to the top of any visitors list while traveling in Japan’s capital city. Too often, visitors frequent Tokyo photo tour spots such as Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo’s main station. All of these places yield excellent photographs, but they are strictly on the beaten path, and they don't resonate with the untold stories of Japan as an educator of the visual arts, professional photographer, and amateur historian I introduce the most photogenic treasures nestled among the on the beaten path destinations.
Gyoen Park’s origins date back to the Edo Period belonging to Lord Naito, a samurai lord, or daimyo during the Edo Period of Japan. Once the garden was completed in 1906, it was solely his family’s to use and enjoy, but after the end of the World War 2, it was decided to open the entire garden for public use. The Imperial Family used and now uses it for entertaining guests and foreign visitors to Tokyo. Upon seeing the peaceful scenery and open fields that comprise the park’s area, you will understand why it was so often used for entertainment. With a 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) circumference, it is easy to spend the entire day both photographing and enjoying the natural landscapes on the grounds of Gyoen Park.
The park demonstrates its most striking features during two seasons, fall and spring. In the autumn, the sheer amount of maple leaves in orange-yellow and red that are available to photograph making this park a must-see location for that photo ops of a lifetime. Being a host to many different varieties of trees other than the legendary Japanse maple, Shinjuku Gyoen Park boasts a magnificent quilt of different shades of red, gold, orange, and few hints of green. Everywhere you turn in the park; you will have an opportunity to witness the natural glory of the park. In spring, the different types of sakura, or cherry trees, blossom, and subtly different times, so with your camera, you can capture cherry blossoms at many distinct stages in one photograph. It is challenging to choose one variety of sakura over another. As the hanami season continues, visiting photographers will have photographic access to over 1,500 shidarezakura, or weeping cherry blossom, the somei yoshino, a blossom with just a hint of pink, and the kanzan variety which boasts between 30 - 50 petals, bright pink blossoms, and coppery brown leaves framing them on every branch. The season most often begins in Mid to late March and continues in April.
When you visit dictates what sights you will be able to behold, and your Photo Workshop Leader will take you to the best locations in the park to help you take a worthy gallery photo with every shot!