Saturday, 30 March 2013

2013 Sakura Season in Tokyo, Part 2

TheToei Line track (left) and the Tokyo Metro Line track (right) at Kudanshita Station

Cherry (Sakura) trees have now come into bloom in the Tokyo metropolitan area. As temperatures have been comparatively high this March, the trees began blooming 10 days earlier than usual. Currently, major viewing spots are crowded with people enjoying the flowers.

The Sakura blossoms are beautiful at night as well. Night viewing of illuminated trees is also popular in Japan. At the end of last week, I visited Chidorigafuchi near Kudanshita Station on the subway line with my family. There were gorgeous illuminated Sakura trees in front of the moat of the Imperial Palace. I saw many people who were enjoying Sakura from the boats on the moat. I also wanted to join them, but we had to give up, as it was about a one-hour wait.

In the meantime, we had a bit of news about Kudanshita Station, the nearest station from Sakura viewing spot, recently. The wall between the Hanzomon Line and the Shinjuku Line tracks had been removed. It was in order to make passengers transfer more smoothly between the two lines. The subway system in Tokyo is operated by two organizations, namely Tokyo Metro Company and Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Toei). The problem for passengers is the difficulty of transfer between the two different operator's lines at the interchange stations. It is inconvenient, as the entrances and exits are separated by the two operators.

In response to orders from the Governor of Tokyo, the wall at Kudanshita Station has been removed and two stations have become unified. It is the first step to improve passenger services.

Night viewing of illuminated Sakura blossoms at Chidorigafuchi near Kudanshita Station