White and pink cherry blossoms signaled the beginning of spring in Tokyo in the most beautiful fashion. Ueno Park was covered with a blanked of cherry blossoms. Now other spring flowers are starting to bloom. In Ueno Park you can now visit the peony garden of Ueno Toshogu Shrine.
Spring Peonies at the Ueno Toshogu Shrine Peony Garden (Botan-en)
April 11 to May 13, 2018
Garden open from 9:00 to 17:00
Admission fee: 700 yen for the garden, 1100 yen for the garden and the shrine
Peonies are called “Botan” in Japanese. The big peony flowers with their vibrant colors can be found in Japanese art and design, including as inspiration for floral textile patterns. “Botan” are associated with beauty, wealth, and fortune. At the Peony Garden you can see many different kinds of peonies. Enjoy their sweet fragrance and rich colors. The big flowers are gorgeous.
Ueno Toshogu Shrine
When you come here, also visit the Ueno Toshogu Shrine. This ornate shrine was built in the 17th century and has survived earthquakes and wars. It is a building that still look like the old Tokyo, Edo.
The Toshogu Shrine was built for Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun. It is of historic importance but also an exceptional example of the architectural style called gongen-zukuri. The shrine’s wall, gate, and main shrine are all built in an intricate structure and heavily decorated style with a lot of gold. The buildings are very different from what you can see at Senso-ji Temple or Meiji Shrine.
Bring you camera and some time to take in both the flowers and architecture. The way leading up to the shrine is lined with big stone lanterns. Next to it stands the old five-storied pagoda that used to be part of Kaneiji Temple. The pagoda is actually inside Ueno Zoo, but you can see it from the entrance of Toshogu Shrine. You might be able to take a picture in the Peony Garden with the pagoda in the background.
More gardens and spring flowers
For more spring flowers take a walk through Ueno Park to the Tokyo National Museum. The Museum Garden is open to the public until May 20 this year. Or take a walk along Ueno Park’s Shinobazu Pond. Near the pond you can also see the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens.