Hello, this is Yoojin. I'm having a hard time these days, because winter is not my favorite season. Recently in Tokyo, temperature drops almost to 0℃ in the night and in the morning!
Today I went to three metropolitan gardens in Tokyo to find the flowers of winter. I used to think most of the flowers bloom in spring, but there are many flowers that can be enjoyed during the winter.
Now let's go and meet the beautiful winter flowers!
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens where a Japanese allspice is fregrant
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens are adjacent to amusement places like Tokyo Dome City and LaQua.
I heard that a Japanese allspice flower is blooming in the park, but the staff at the gate told me that some of the flowers have been eaten by birds... Unlucky for me...
Anyway, I went into the park and found the Japanese allspice tree. The gate staff was right, there were little flowers on the tree, but I found couple of tiny buds!
The buds have a sparkling surface as if it were coated with wax. As a matter of fact, Japanese allspice is called "Roubai (蝋梅)," which means "waxed apricot" in Japanese. Some buds are about to bloom, and the sweet fregrant was very relaxing.
Although I could not see Japanese allspice in bloom, there were a lot of ume (Japanese apricot) trees in bloom with white, pink and light red flowers. There were many buds ready to burst, so it might be in full bloom in early February.
Winter in Kyu-Furukawa Gardens
The next garden is Kyu-Furukawa Gardens in Kita Ward, which is famous for a western style building and beautiful roses. As roses are at their best in May, the garden in winter was a bit lonely, but I found charms that can only be seen in this time of the year.
This pink camellia welcomed the visitors.
In the park, there are beautiful peony flowers with small walls made of straw. These walls protect trees and flowers from the weight of the snow during the winter.
Other than the walls like the above, you will find some trees with ropes placed around them. This is called "Yukizuri (雪吊り)", that reinforces the branches to protect from the snow. These winter protections are the view only seen in winter.
The last garden I visited was Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens. The building in this garden used to be the residence of Hisaya Iwasaki, son of Yataro Iwasaki who is the founder of Mitsubishi group.
From the Japanese room through the window, I found ume flowers in a pot.
While I was walking around the vast garden carpeted with the golden lawn, I found a narcissus blooming modestly.
Please note that the western style building of Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens is now under restoration, that the facade cannot be seen. The restoration is expected to finish at the end of March.
Let's look for the winter joy
I used to hesitate going out on chilly days, but I was pretty much encouraged by the vital energy of these winter flowers. It was surprising for me to realize that I'm capable of enjoying the winter walk.
There are nine metropolitan gardens in Tokyo. If you are interested, look for the information in the related pages bellow.