Sakuragaoka in Shibuya

This Week in Tokyo – 5 April 2022

Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: Blooming traffic; Sakura Paradise; Swallows Pennant; Aizome at Asakusa Kaede and Tasting Our Sake.

Featured image – Blooming traffic: Tokyo’s Somei Yoshino Cherry Blossoms hit full bloom last week. One of my favourite spots in Shibuya is Sakuragaoka. Not the worst place in the world to be stuck in a traffic jam, amiright?

Shinjuku Gyoen Sakura 2022

Sakura Paradise: Up to Shinjuku Gyoen for my second sakura indulgence of this week’s ‘This Week in Tokyo’. Friday 1 April was a glorious day to be strolling around the majestic garden, which is home to over 65 varieties of cherry trees… so if you know where to stand, you can snap magical shots like this!

Tokyo Yakult Swallows Nippo n Champions 2021 Pennant

Swallows Pennant: I always thought winning the pennant was a figure of speech. That’s because the Swallows have not had the greatest of success in the 16 seasons I have been passionately supporting them. That all changed in 2021 when they won the Nippon Series and became Japan champions for the first time in twenty years. At the Jingu Stadium opening series of this year’s season the non-metaphorical pennant was on display, and I had to snap this for posterity.

Asakusa Kaede Hotel Aizome Room

Aizome at Asakusa Kaede: I was honoured to be invited to enjoy a night at Asakusa Kaede, a new property from Housing Japan that opened in December 2021. It’s an elegantly designed Boutique Hotel in the heart of Tokyo’s most historic district, Asakusa – located a stone’s throw from Sensoji, the oldest temple in the World’s Greatest Metropolis! It offers an exclusive, luxurious and immersive experience​ into the world of Japan’s celebrated arts and crafts, which begins in each room.

I stayed in the Aizome room, which represents the blue dying which Asakusa is famous for. Each floor is also themed by season – the fourth floor where I stayed being the Summer floor – hence the bright walls.

Guests can enjoy local activities curated by the hotel, and lobby refreshments and meals are provided by Tokyo Sour Stand, who have opened their second location in the Kaede after their success at Kagurazaka.

Highly recommended for visiting guests! Those borders can’t stay closed forever!

Tasting Our Sake: Last summer I spent one week making Japanese Sake at Gakkogura on Sado Island, then documented it all in the TV-quality series ‘Making Sake on Sado’. But what does the end result taste like? Japanese Sake expert Chris Hughes puts the sake I made to the test! Watch me get very nervous, and celebrate the culmination of an incredible adventure, in this final part of what has been an epic journey. KANPAI!

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