Ueno Park in the Pink

By this point in the week, I’m sure everyone is sick to death of seeing pictures of cherry blossoms and I think I’ve almost reached my life-long saturation point for shooting them.  A couple of years ago, I realized there’s really not much point in me making any effort to shoot them anymore: they basically look the same every year and it’s a kind of lazy subject. In addition, the rise of Instagram in the past several months has meant that both my Twitter stream and my Instagram stream have been full of blossom shots for several days running, so I think I was at saturation point for blossom photos before I even stepped outside yesterday morning.

That being said, I still enjoy looking at blossoms, so I did make the effort to go to the park and have a look at the trees yesterday. Ueno Park is a short subway ride away, so that was the destination. Oddly enough, as often as I go to Ueno Park, I had not been during blossom season for a decade or so. Needless to say, I was not prepared for the crowds; in actual fact, no matter how long you live here, I’m not sure there is any way to be prepared for the hanami crowds in Tokyo.

We entered the park from the Shinobazu-dori side and immediately came across a small flea market area, where this caught my eye (taxidermy is just so bizarre that it always catches my eye no matter how weird or crappy a particular piece happens to be):

Next up was a real live animal in Shinobazu pond – this is a male Tufted Duck. There were quite a few of them floating around and the light was nicely highlighting the deep purple on the side of the head.

If you visit Shinobazu in the summer, it is full of lotus plants (and it’s quite amazing to see). The centre of the pond was full of the dried remains of the lotus plants (like a sea of dried reeds), so that’s what in the foreground here:


A bit further round the pond, there was a frenzy of sparrows in the trees and loads of people taking photos. At the centre of the mêlée was a man who was feeding the sparrows, with many making a brief stop on his hand:

It really was so crowded that I was less than motivated to take photos, but I did take a few shots of the sparrows in the trees and was particularly pleased to catch this little sparrow looking very much like one of the Angry Birds:


Finally, one more shot of pink as we made our way back to the train station:



And then a final iPhone shot (Hipstamatic app) of the crowds settled in for a few hours of eating, drinking, and blossom viewing:

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  • Hi! I found your blog from Haikugirl’s links page. 😀 I was jonesin’ for more blogs to read, haha!

    I have a ton of sparrows that eat from my bird feeders. I never knew of a sparrow to be so tame to be held though! How cool! 😀

    LOL, all the gorgeous pictures of trees, and the bird lover I am is obsessed with the man holding a sparrow. 😛

    • Hi Alyse,

      Thanks for the visit and glad you found yourself here!

      It’s funny – I didn’t really think much of the sparrow being on his hand, but, you’re right: it is pretty unusual to see a sparrow doing that. He might be a Ueno Park regular because all the sparrows around him seemed very comfortable.