Hello, Tokyo!

November 9, 2016 | Kristel Kaye Dequillo

Konnichiwa!

Taking a break from posting the real estate listings I have flooded this website thus far, to share with you all my adventures from – drum rolls – the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. Anyways, I have always visualized this page to not only be a place where I will do business for real estate and insurance, but a creative outlet as well. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. I’m all for keeping things interesting!

So, just a little background for all you readers who do not know me personally: I have been coming to Tokyo, Japan since I was 13 years old for my summer vacations. And at that tender age, with my family having secured all the permits I needed from DSWD, I was already flying international alone – which, modesty aside, I have always been proud of. It gave me a sense of independence, and I cherish the experience.

And only now have I realized, that was a decade ago. Oh my, how time flies!

ShinjukuSo, Japan. Nihon.

Almost everybody I know wants to visit Japan, for varied reasons – cultural immersion, food, cherry blossoms, anime, cosplays, history, fashion, shopping(!!!), architecture, sight-seeing, or a little bit of everything. Who am I kidding though – who wouldn’t want to, for even just once in their life? As for me, I am very blessed to have family residing in Tokyo. It makes everything easier and takes away the first hurdle of actually being able to come here, also known as visa.

The photo is a panorama I took with my phone when we were in Shinjuku. It was just as busy as I remember it to be. This small town girl is not used to having so many people around on a daily basis. But this post is not about the buzz of city life, or the go-to places if you are in Japan. Let me take you instead somewhere that is often overlooked by tourists and not given much attention online – but its all I have been raving about since we visited last November 1, 2016.

I’m taking you guys to Jindai Botanical Garden in Chofu City, Tokyo. Call it a visual tour, if you may.

Here we are in the parking lot, which is on the property adjacent to the park. The entrance is a few meters from here. The small town girl in me will never get used to the concept of paid parking.

I love how dreamy the fall season is – when the leaves are changing colors, the wind is chilly and the sunlight just brightens everything up, highlighting all the beauty. Entrance is over there where you can see the counters. TIP: If you have a senior citizen with you, just as I was with my grandma, don’t forget to bring their passport! You can save around 50% on entrance fees. Plus, when you go shopping, some shops offer duty-free if you are a foreigner. I have missed so much deals because I keep forgetting to bring mine. Seriously guys, bring your passport. Seriously.

Finally we have arrived, guys! Here is what up when you step inside Jindai. There are arrays flower arrangements and bonsai trees, among others, all of which are not for sale, by the way. Strictly for your appreciation.

On the other side, this photo above is your view. To the left is the flower farm which is so beautiful, its almost magical. Jindai Botanical Gardens opened its doors to the public in October 1961, and at that time, it was Tokyo’s only botanical garden. Pretty interesting, huh?

So. Much. Dahlias. Ugh! You ready to be flooded with flower photos?

My grandma and I could not resist posing beside these beauties. The flower farm is pretty big, but these are the blooms they have for the autumn season. Can you just imagine how awesome this place is going to be in the spring? I am definitely coming back next year to it!

When I first came to Japan, I was so excited to do touristy things – see the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea, Mt. Fuji and everything else. While these are great, and these I have enjoyed so much in the past when I did them, over the years I have retreated into a person who appreciates solitude and peace. Nature really does wonders of making me happy and content. Perhaps you are the same. If so, well here are the next set of photos.

Further into the park and only a few meters from the previous one is this garden full of roses. The pictures do not do it justice, guys. You would need to see it in person to know what I mean. And maybe I would have to Google the synonyms of beautiful and dreamy because these are the only adjectives I can think of to describe it. Our next destination is this greenhouse.

This greenhouse is composed of different sections. The first section contains various tropical plants, which were considered rare here. It amused me how one Japanese couple (who were following behind us) were eyeing the tamarind tree curiously. My mom explained to the Japanese couple that in the Philippines, we used tamarind to cook some dishes and that it was actually edible. Their reaction: “Ehhh?” which of course, was cute. There was even a guava tree inside which we were surprised to see.

In a separate room, these plants are housed. I do not know what these are because I have not read the labels, but judging from the photo (and from my memory), this section is composed of ferns and different kinds of orchids. My grandma really want to buy some so she can bring them back home. Sadly, they were not for sale. She went home with a heavy heart – poor lola.

I present you the third section, which is composed of even more flowers. I was only able to recognize hibiscus. Nothing else. Haha

The fourth section is composed of different kinds of lotus flowers and water lilies. The lotus flower is perhaps my favorite out of all the flowers there is. Not only is it exquisite, it also holds a lot of meaning. It is a reminder of inner strength, purity and beauty. Just like the lotus flower grows out of muddy and murky waters, you can choose to rise above the circumstance no matter how dark a place you are coming from. Always be blooming, people!

By the way, I bake a lot so I cannot help but think that the leaves look a lot like a baking tin for tarts. Anyways, the last section is composed of cacti. Sadly this is the only photo I took of this section.

Finally, before heading home, we strolled for a bit and here are some of the sights:

We passed by so many fruit-bearing trees – plums, cherries, apricots, peaches, pomegranates. Too bad none of them were in season; otherwise it would have been another round of gazillion pictures featuring each of the fruit trees. The pine trees will do for now, until I come back next year.

Finally, we have reached the end of the tour. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I had fun putting all of this together. I hope you all are inspired include this place in your itinerary on your next trip to Tokyo. There is still so so much to see in this country, and I cannot wait to see all of it, little by little – maybe one koen (park) at a time.

Let me know in the comments if you liked this post, so I can do more of it.

See you all, until my next adventure!

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