Sakura and hanami in Tokyo, with champagne and the world's best egg sando
2017. április 05. írta: világevő

Sakura and hanami in Tokyo, with champagne and the world's best egg sando

Sakura, the blooming of cherry blossoms is a big hit in Japan. Around this time, everyone is rushing to the parks to celebrate it by having a picnic under the trees.

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Of course, you don't need to rely only on your gut feeling: there are many public and a few private sakura forecasts, for each region and city. Even an app is available, but only in Japanese. Where the blossoming starts, crowds are gathering immediately to take photos, selfies, touch the flowers and to cheer. It might sound strange at the first time but their enthusiasm is contagious, and you soon find yourself looking for cherry blossoms as if this was the only reason you came to Japan for.

My trick was to check the hashtags "sakuratokyo", "tokyosakura" on Instagram, and with the help of the latest pictures, you can find the places to be. It really worked. This time I ended up in the Shinjuku Gyoen park, where you'll get a map (of course!) and the lady at the entrance will gladly point out where to look for the sakura.

 

Hopefully, the shore of the little lake on the Northeast side of the Imperial Palace will be in full blossom by tomorrow. It's probably here that the best shots can be taken, even in the evening.

Of course, it wouldn't be Japan if you couldn't eat the sakura, as well. A lot of desserts are made in limited editions at this time, like the sakura mochi, the most important one, which is a sticky rice dumpling filled with red beans; the tea or the infusion of salted cherry blossom flower in hot water that I received after my matcha in a great tearoom with fantastic ambiance. These are mainly of symbolic importance - as are so many things Japan - and are not consumed for their taste. And, naturally, you'll find sakura decorations everywhere, on the plates, in the tearooms, in the shops and restaurants.

The other link to gastronomy is the Hanami party, the picnic preferably directly under a blooming cherry blossom tree. There's no set menu, and luckily, in Japan it's easy to do grocery shopping since even the smallest shops are well stocked with good quality takeaway food, bento boxes, sweets and other ready-made meals. My Japanese friends opted for a homemade picnic with roast beef, desserts, salads, champagne and with the odd one out, egg sandwich, which wasn't homemade. But this egg sandwich was delicious, I have never tasted something like this before. No wonder it is so famous and beloved! You can buy it in Amanoya, a tiny tearoom-pastry shop in the Azabu Juban neighborhood of Tokyo. Of course, you have to queue if you want to get in, as I learned the next day when I - as my Japanese friends rightly predicted it - immediately wanted to source new supplies of this moist and exciting egg sandwich. By the time I got in, I had no success in asking for yesterday's tamago sando. The shopkeeper only handed over a piece of paper with a text written in terrible English, which I assumed meant that there was no more sandwich. This is also a Japanese tradition, whereby they only prepare a certain amount of a certain product even if they know it won't be enough. (I ended up buying the most expensive sponge cake of my life. But this is another story.)

You'd better start now to plan the next spring season because the closer you get, the more difficult it becomes to book anything. 

Other posts related to Japan are here. And my tour hasn't ended yet! It's worth following me on Instagram!

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