Spring training in Mukojima

| Feb 24, 2013

Spring training in Mukojima

by Kit Nagamura

It’s hard to think of February as springlike, what with snowfalls, freezing winds and a dusting of dead leaves everywhere. But I know from experience that the intrepid Prunus mume, or plum tree, blooms this month, and a trek to see some blossoms seems ...

The fall fires of Nishigahara

| Nov 25, 2012

The fall fires of Nishigahara

Burning to see fall colors, I head to Tokyo’s northern Kita Ward, where Kyu Furukawa Teien, the former estate of copper magnate Ichibei Furukawa, features not only a traditional Japanese garden but also Western-style flowerbeds of autumn-blooming roses. At this time of the season, ...

Rolling around Sendagi

| May 27, 2012

Rolling around Sendagi

by Kit Nagamura

The Yanesen district of central Tokyo, whose name features bits of the names of the three neighborhoods it comprises (Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi), charms visitors with its temple-studded streets, craft shops and prewar architecture. Oddly, though, maps in either Japanese or English rarely guide ...

Foxtrotting around Asukayama

| Apr 29, 2012

Foxtrotting around Asukayama

by Kit Nagamura

Rising amid flat farmland, Asukayama had long been an untended haunt of foxes and their small prey when, in 1720, Yoshimune Tokugawa, the eighth shogun to rule in Edo (present-day Tokyo), had the hilly upland planted with 1,200 cherry trees, 100 maples and 100 ...

Plum nuts about Ikegami

| Mar 25, 2012

Plum nuts about Ikegami

by Kit Nagamura

Whether you call the Prunus mume a plum or an apricot (it is related to both), the flowers are plum elegant on their leafless, shiny branches and help cheer us through winter’s finale. To enjoy them to the full, I seek out Ikegami Baien ...