Snow is not a notable feature of Tokyo weather. Even including the mountainous western part of Tokyo (東京都) the average number of snowy days per month is in the low single digits with most snow coming in February and March. The probability of anything more than snow flurries in the metropolitan area (23区) is even lower.
When snow does come, it is mostly a bother. Especially for commuters who face delays, cancelled trains, and in a recent case a half-kilometer hike from a stalled train to the nearest station.
For non-commuting people, especially photographers, snow in Tokyo is an opportunity. We can capture scenes that, while common in Japan's snow country, are rare in Tokyo.
My SOHO is situated in easy walking distance from two notable formal gardens (庭園) in Tokyo. I have also covered both Kyu Furukawa-teien (Furukawa Gardens) and Rikugien (Rikugien Gardens) in previous JAPAN Forward articles.
An English rose garden and a Japanese formal garden are among its notable features. The former was covered in snow with only a few hardy blossoms visible. Parts of the latter were visible and accessible. Though few in number, there was a steady stream of visitors.
Rikugien dates from the early 18th century and is one of the top formal gardens in Japan. When sakura are in bloom and when autumn colors are at their best, entrance queues extend for 100 meters or more.
There were no such queues when I visited on February 6, the day after the snowstorm. However, even more so than the Furukawa-teien, there was a goodly number of visitors attracted to the snow-covered garden.
- Rikugien, a Brilliant Tokyo Jewel of Autumn's Best Foliage
- Mogusaen's Plum Blossoms Decorate Early Spring on an Inexpensive Outing
- Sakura: Softly Blossoming Cherries Herald the Hope and Pleasures of Spring
- Gardens of Wealth: At Rikugien and Furukawa Are Layers of Tokyo History
Author: Earl H Kinmonth
All photographs (©JAPAN Forward by EH Kinmonth). Find other stories about Tokyo gardens and nearby areas by Dr Kinmonth on JAPAN Forward.