During this time of year, your feeds must be full of pictures or products of sakura (cherry blossoms) because we’re currently in the peak blooming season. However, where these beautiful trees originate is in Japan and I was fortunate to go not too long ago and experience a special art exhibit that celebrated Sakuras and more. Here is my review of this particular exhibit which includes more info, how to go, pictures, my thoughts, and more. Before you read below, make sure to follow the blog via social media (Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook) for more to be informed about other cool things to do and eat in Japan as there will be much more content coming soon (with some already shared)! See the video below for a visual teaser of what you can expect in this blog post!
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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a massive park/garden located in Shinjuku, Tokyo that attracts many people to come and explore, but it has always been very popular for “hanami” which is defined as flower viewing, especially for sakura/cherry blossoms. For 2023, the garden has collaborated with the art collective, NAKED, for a special after-hours art exhibit where you get to explore the garden and the various trees it holds. Since it is a large park they also have an option of providing you a segway to ride and navigate around the park. However, I do suggest the best way to immerse yourself in this exhibit is by walking on foot with your special sakura lantern. As you can see in the photos, not all lantern colours are the same but they do illuminate a sakura/cherry blossom on the ground that not only looks aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial when walking around. The garden is located at 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014 and is easily accessible via public transit. Follow the signs for the proper entrance when providing your ticket.
The only way we were able to secure tickets and even be aware of this event is through Klook. Klook is a global travel activities and services booking platform, and FYI, it has a lot of great options for Japan! The tickets get sold out easily on the weekend but thankfully, we were still able to get it from Klook. Please note that the exhibit is currently closed but they might open up next year, so take a look at the page here. Also, I highly recommend you signing up for Klook now to start planning your next adventure, especially if you’re going to Japan, you can probably use this 12% off code – JCBKLOOK12 (If that doesn’t work try 5% off via the app with “BetterOnApp”). The cost of two tickets total after tax I believe was $35.13 USD.
Trees and Navigation
As mentioned before you are given a special sakura lantern to navigate throughout the park. In this park, you will see many trees and flowers with special lights that help it illuminate in the dark which allows a great opportunity to take photos of or with these trees. I saw a few different trees in addition to the sakura which you can see in the images in this blog post.
This exhibit had several activations you can enjoy as well. The most memorable one was a dandelion one by Ryotaro Muramatsu where you can name your own “fluff”. You will see it in the TikTok/Instagram video and also in the pictures but it is a cool thing you get to experience as these digital flowers appear and so does your name (see above) across the floor. Something to note is that the signal and wifi there is pretty shaky, so if you don’t have a strong connection you won’t be able to do this. Also, the staff will not take pictures or videos for you (I think to speed up the line but not sure) so hopefully you have someone that can do that for you or ask the next person in line.
They also had food and a special Toyota Mirai car on display to show how those cars were powering up the exhibit which is a cool and unique advertising display of a car. I was excited to try the food as I believe there were some vegan options, but unfortunately, by the time I got there (a few hours before closing), the food was already sold out.
All in all, I thought this was a really cool thing to do and explore, especially this time of year. My personal highlight from this was the dandelion but I do wish they had food options available for longer as well as a booklet or digital map to highlight certain trees or activations. My tip for next year if this is being done again is to go a bit earlier to walk around the park and maybe prior to taking any pictures first explore the park to see more so you don’t waste too much time in the beginning. Overall, I am happy I went. If you have gone or would like to go let me know in the comments below or via social media by following me on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook as I will be posting more Japan content soon!