Traveling to Japan is like coming home. The two couldn’t be further apart, geographically and otherwise, but there’s this strange feeling of comfort. This sense of invisible but welcoming open arms. Subdued but honest smiles shared on the street. The paradoxical silence of a metropolis as chaotic as Tokyo.
Despite all that, last year felt different. We visited during April to catch the sakura season and, though the weather was much nicer than sticky summer, it was packed with tourists. We all got sick with stomach flu, all at different rates. And this was the first time with baby L, so the pace was much different and our options were limited.
Nevertheless, once we checked in at our Airbnb, we hit the ground running and walked around Jingumae and Sendagaya, which was the perfect, soothing start for the trip. Once L was asleep in her stroller, we popped into an empty restaurant to eat the most delicious and fiery hot ramen ever.
When the morning arrived, it was time to see the promised sakura trees and petals. And we had to hurry up because we were catching the very end of the season, when they’re falling to the ground.
We walked through Meiji Jingu, had lunch in Shinjuku, and spent the entire afternoon at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Sakura were everywhere, but the most impressive view was a pink road created by thousands of fallen sakura petals.