View Full Version : Hanami

3-Mar-2015, 11:51
I'm in for some quality hanami this spring.
Both in Tokyo and Kyoto.
I booked a flat in Shinjuku to get a chance to look at a bunch camera stores, but I was wondering if there is a LF store there or they are all mixed together.
Anyone can give me an idea as to a place to find LF items in Japan?

Andrew O'Neill
3-Mar-2015, 12:57
The best Hanami photography is the morning after. Nice contrast between cherry blossoms above, and garbage below... with bits of clothing and the odd sleeping drunk thrown in.

3-Mar-2015, 13:07
Great! Thanks for the tip! I'll make sure to wake up very early before the sun disturbs the sleeping drunk!

Peter Lewin
3-Mar-2015, 17:43
Am I the only one who has no idea what "Hanami photography" is, or am I the only one curious enough to pose the question?

John Olsen
3-Mar-2015, 19:43
While you're there check out the basement level of Yodobashi Camera near the Shinjuku station. That's where the LF stuff was when I was last there in 2013. But it's just for looking, the prices aren't going to get you thrilled. Back in the good 'ol days they had a whole store set aside just for film. It's probably filled with digi-crap now.

BTW, hanami just means looking at the flowers, which pretty much means the cherry blossoms.

If you head west of Tokyo you may find your native language posted in train stations. It's Brazilian-friendly. Have a great time.

Jim Andrada
4-Mar-2015, 00:54
Cherry blossom viewing conjures up images of serene appreciation of the natural beauty of the blooming cherry blossoms.

In reality it's a zillion people sitting on blue tarps spread out under the cherry trees - and carousing and getting SH--faced falling down drunk. The youngest guy in the office/department gets to go camp out on the most desirable spot he can find and stand (or sit) guard to hold it for several days until his office mates arrive for the party. It's an absolute zoo. One of the best places in Tokyo to see the real thing is Ueno Park.

4-Mar-2015, 05:06
Peter, I was going to add the wikipedia link, but forgot at the last minute.
John, thanks for the tip.
Jim, I can tell I'm about to find out much more than I wanted about Japan.

4-Mar-2015, 10:40
Definitely shoot color film. You can also follow the Cherry Blossom 'front' as blooms open in the South and move Northward. This is actually reported on the weather report! I'd avoid the masses of drunk Japanese office workers and try and find temple complexes with cherry trees. Kyoto is busy during Hanami but just can't be beat for its beauty. Tripods and LF may not be allowed in some places but there are plenty of places were you can shoot. 4x5 is most practical because of the buses and trains you use to get around. I'd also take a look at Meijimura near Nagoya - it's a collection of buildings from the 1800s rebuilt in one spot. I bet photography thee would be excellent.

Jim Andrada
4-Mar-2015, 17:36
My personal recommendation for Cherry Blossoms is in Akita. A small (very small) town called Kakunodate. It's a couple of hundred miles north of Tokyo so the blossoms arrive later. It's in some ways a mini Kyoto - it was a provincial capital at one point and there are quite a few Samurai houses still standing. As well as immense Cherry trees. There is a Japan Rail hotel at the station which is adequate and not expensive, but the odds of getting a room there in the peak viewing season are not good - might have to stay elsewhere and take the train in and back as a day trip.

Kakunodate has been merged with Tazawako - where there is a lake reputed to be the deepest in Japan. It doesn't freeze in winter and legend has it that there are a pair of deities in dragon form at the bottom of the lake and their amorous activities keep the lake warm enough not to freeze over.

My wife and I once stayed at a REALLY rural place in the Nyuto (teat) Onsen area. How rural? well we parked on a flat area at the top of a hiil and loaded our suitcases onto a small carrier and the proprietor at the ryokan on the next hill pulled the carrier across the valley on a ropeway of sorts. The breakfast area had a couple of tables that were missing legs and had their ends propped up on a radiator. At night the only light was a few 5 Watt bulbs in the hallway - all the electricity was generated at the ryokan and they turned the generator off at night because of the noise and ran the nite lites off a car battery. It was wonderful

Another spot I liked was the "minka-en" (Folk home park)city park in Kawasaki. They've brought in several old homes from rural areas and you can wander freely through the houses. Almost nobody seems to know about it and it was usually pretty empty. About a 20 minute leisurely walk from Noborito station.


mike rosenlof
5-Mar-2015, 11:03
Here is a link for Nihon Minkaen. Nice place. It was cool and cloudy the time I went there in late 2000.


I recommend the Odakyu line to Mukogaoka Yuen to get there

5-Mar-2015, 18:50
Wow! Thanks!

15-Apr-2015, 02:23
I'm at Narita, heading back to Brazil.
Twenty one days of cherry blossom! Very few drunks.
I kept wondering how many Gbs of digital images were produced around me these days.
In the end I decided to come very light. Brought 10 rolls of 35mm b&w film and found myself an Olympus rangefinder here.
Thanks for all the info!

Andrew O'Neill
15-Apr-2015, 12:51
All the drunks are in Fukuoka...;)

Jim Andrada
19-Apr-2015, 20:28
Ueno Koen used to be so littered with drunks that it was hard to walk without stepping on them