Street Photography during the Japanese Cherry Blossom

If you wonder when to do street photography in Tokyo, Sakura season is your answer. Japan is welcoming millions of tourists every ear, during Sakura season alone.

The life of a professional photographer is always what keeps me alert and interested at all times. After a year of living here, the Land of the Rising Sun feels like home.

Today I’m going to write about my experience as a street photographer, living aside stories about shooting families or pets. I know this is a long-debated subject, but I will focus on my photos and experiences in this beautiful country.

Street Photography during the Japanese Cherry Blossom, photo by Cristian Bucur Photographer in Tokyo.
Park Picnic in Tokyo during Sakura Season

Seeing couples enjoying outdoor scenery is very common, especially during Sakura Season. People around the Globe have planned the vacations to Nihon land to see and experience the Cherry Blossom. For many people, the Land of the Rising Sun is also synonymous with Sakura, and planning the vacation during the photogenic Cherry blossom peak comes without much reflection.

Sakura Season, it’s the best time to schedule a vacation photography session in Tokyo. 

According to Wikipedia:

Hanami (花見, “flower viewing”) is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers.” 

Indeed, I can tell you that hanami is a custom prevalent among both local Japanese people and tourists alike. Locals take it even a step further and share the joy of viewing the Cherry Blossoms with the entire families, friends, kids, and pets (yes, bringing your favorite pet for a walk during Sakura is quite lovely). Later on, they would toast a glass of champagne. Möet is a real thing during Sakura on Nippon land.

Sakura/Cherry Flowers in Tachikawa, 2014th, Tokyo
Sakura/Cherry Flowers in Tachikawa, 2014th, Tokyo

During Sakura, the number of crowds is something I have never seen before, tourists and locals are flooding the streets and alleys where Cherry Trees are. People are photographing every side of every tree, hoping they’ll get the best shot ever, or at least the best memory. Not to mention the photography aficionados, be it hobbyists of professional photographers with the latest trends in camera gear, tripods, lenses, and huge backpacks to accommodate all of the above, spend hours creating millions of photographs which will probably never be consumed.

Couples and families hire photographers to provide great memories for their loved ones or to capture beautiful moments for years to come. Photography is indeed one of the best solutions to “Frame Our Life Stories” as I like to say. As a tourist on the Nippon land during Sakura (and not only), you can book a photography session with me (Cristian Bucur Tokyo Photographer) and even rent out a Kimono to complete the Japanese experience from Yae in Asakusa

Photographer in Tokyo
Friends wearing Kimonos in Asakusa, near by Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

Couples outdoor photo shoot in Tokyo

As a photographer, my Sakura adventure started in the first year of living here, at the Nakameguro canal. Trust me; this is the Cherry Blossom Wonderland, the most accessible place in downtown Tokyo. On the riverside, you can experience street food, the champagne mentioned above, coffee shops, and more. Couples and families arrange photoshoots during walks under the Cherry Blossom, which will become memory treasures for years to come. After all, this is the Land of the Rising Sun, with the most relaxed and easy-going people.

Street Photography during the Japanese Cherry Blossom, photo by Cristian Bucur Photographer in Tokyo.
Sakura/Cherry Blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
Sakura/Cherry Blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park

Cherry trees were one more beautiful than the other. Birds were chirping, and people were enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Occasionally I would stop, so I can take more photos or steal portraits of people enjoying their time in the park. Some of the more talented people were painting and drawing the beautiful trees in full blossom, with patience and dedication. Blending in as a tourist helped me as a street photographer to create stunning photographs to remind me of the first Sakura Season as a “local.”

Man painting Cherry Trees during full blossom in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
Man painting Cherry Trees during full blossom in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park.

I couldn’t stop telling myself what a dream I live to be a photographer working in Tokyo 23 wards; this city has so much to offer, any time of the year. It feeds my photographic appetite any time of the day, be it with street photography or photoshoots with beautiful large families of four or more members. You can read my latest post about the experience I had during a family photoshoot in Roppongi Hills.

After walking almost all of the Nakameguro canal, I decided to head off to the Imperial Palace, which is in the center of the city, only a short walk from the beautiful Tokyo Station. I have spent quite a bit of time admiring the palace’s architecture and the beautiful Japanese gardens that amazed everyone around me(myself included), from local to tourists.

With my heart and soul filled with great memories and my memory cards with amazing photos, I went for a late lunch to have Japanese noodles, also known as ramen (wheat noodles). Of course, there are a lot of other kinds of noodles, but you know, we humans have only one stomach, and to be fair, I looked for menus in English. 🙂

Entrance to Imperial Palace Tokyo
One of the entrances to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Said and done, I left the restaurant and decided to visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. On my way there, I got lost in another park. Even to this day, I can’t figure out where that was. It might have been the park around the Akasaka Imperial Property, or Meiji Jingu Gaien Nikoniko Park. I have no idea. Down below is a carved table with a similar concept (to me) with The Table of Silence made by Constantin Brancuși. Interesting, isn’t it?

Round stone table with round chairs in Tokyo
Round stone table with round chairs in Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a large park where one can stay for hours to enjoy the tranquil scenery for only 500 Yen. No wonder this park has a paid entry, because it’s both huge and has excellent landscaping maintained all year round. The park is arranged in smaller units, some that look more like traditional Japanese gardens, while others have more of a Western look.

The bad news is, or was; I haven’t checked the opening hours of the park. Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday) are the days when the park is closed, probably for maintenance. So…. No Sakura photos in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park that day. Because I’m a relentless photographer, days after my first attempt to photograph this park from the Flowery Kingdom, I came back to the park fully geared up to produce stunning photographs. I have even done some long exposures using neutral density filters.

It is worth mentioning, especially for people who shoot in parks in Tokyo, that in most of the parks commercial photo shoots require a permit after paying a fee, information available from the local ward, if I understood that right.

Sakura long exposure photograph taken in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, Tokyo (around 30 seconds was the exposure if I remember well).
Enjoy Sakura, a long exposure photograph taken in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, Tokyo (around 30 seconds was the exposure if I remember well).

I don’t think I have kept myself in a continuous photoshoot all over the places, but here and there, I stopped when I considered the right spot to help me get a good photograph. In the following days, I have continued my adventure for vacation/travel photos and visiting parts of Tokyo and Yokohama.

Landmark Tower in Minato Mirai makes for such great views over Yokohama, and if there is a clear day, even Fuji is visible.

Landmark Tower Yokohama
Landmark Tower Yokohama

To be precise, you can drink a coffee with spectacular views of Mount Fuji. The Red Brick Warehouses, Osanbashi Pier, and Yokohama Chinatown are also top picks with my favorite place being the Chinatown. I can’t have enough of it.

Yokohama Bay panoramic view from the top of the Landmark Tower.
Yokohama Bay; Landmark Tower has a panoramic view from the top.

Thank you for reading all of my words until here. I’m thrilled. Keep an eye on my blog. I am always trying to write about my experiences as a photographer living in The Great Nihon. This is the first blog post I write about my other photography experiences and where I show you places and people through my city/landscape and street photography. I have a lot more photographs published on my Instagram Travel Profile, which is accessible directly from here or type @crisphototravels in Instagram Search.

View over Yokohama; amazing how many constructions are, right? And all of them perfectly aligned.
View over Yokohama; amazing how many constructions are, right? And all of them perfectly aligned.

Are you looking to hire a professional photographer in Japan? Make sure you click the contact button down below and book your photography session with me anywhere in Tokyo or Yokohama and allow me to tell your story through my vision. Are you going to fly in Osaka and have time to visit only Kyoto? No worries, I can travel there too and show you around. 

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