Plum blossoms, Pokemon & art that lights up the night
At the spectacular Yokohama Smart Illuminations event, art lights up the night in delightful and provocative ways at the end of October every year.
For a day trip that’s a mix of cutting edge energy and timeless gardens, let’s go to Yokohama.
On one hand, Yokohama is home to the venerable
Sankei-en garden and a park that has the most amazing plum blossom display I’ve ever seen. On the other, it’s got a great Pokemon Center and sponsors must-see art & music events on its lively waterfront.
With Yokohama’s huge ferris wheel in the background, even the sightseeing boats are lit up in neon for the Yokohama Smart Illuminations.
Buildings that insult each other were just one of the art pieces exhibited last year! More info & pix here.
But Yokohama also has interesting places to visit year-round:
The venerable garden of Sankei-en was built around a collection of historical buildings that were lovingly moved to the site, including this 1457 pagoda from Kyoto.
The garden puts on a show in every season. These late cherry blossoms are growing outside one of the thatch-roofed houses you’ll discover along the many scenic trails.
The inner garden sports more scenic buildings and gates.
In the neighborhood nearby, I discovered this scrub brush shrine, dedicated to curing the common cold!
Okurayama Park is a must-see in February! It has more amazing kinds of plum trees than anywhere else near Tokyo.
And if you’re a Pokemon fan, there an excellent Pokemon Center right near the waterfront, were you can snag all kinds of only-in-Japan goods.
DIRECTIONS & MAPS
Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo
In the wake of a natural disaster, Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, where he finds evidence that suggests the impossible. How could the head priest have been murdered by someone who was already dead?… read more