No one is a stranger to Ghibli films. In this feature, we introduce the model town associated with Studio Ghibli’s animated film Whisper of the Heart (耳をすませば), which was released in 1995. A coming-of-age romantic story that reminds many of their younger, youthful days.
This spot is accessible from Seiseki-sakuragaoka Station on the Keio Line. Located about 30 minutes from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, it is easy to get to. Even if you have not watched the movie or aren’t a Ghibli fan, you can still visit to enjoy cherry blossoms and the charms of a typical Japanese suburb.
In this area, as soon as it’s spring, you will get to see cherry blossoms no matter where you go.
This area is quite hilly and has many slopes, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Before you check out some well-known spots, how about grabbing a bite to eat at a popular tonkatsu restaurant.
The restaurant is called Sankyusan and offers a range of delicious meals.
Tonkatsu, croquettes, fried shrimp to name just a few. The restaurant itself has a local feel.
We tried a set of sirloin tonkatsu with fried shrimp. Look how big the shrimp is!
The pork is crunchy yet tender. Add the store’s special tonkatsu sticky sauce that elevates the dish to another level.
Once your belly is satisfied, it’s time to take a walk.
The first stop is Oguri-gawa, a large river that has cherry blossom trees and grassy spots on either bank.
It’s a perfect spot for taking pictures, playing, walking, having a picnic, or just sitting and enjoying the view.
A quiet and gentle space with people cycling, taking their dogs on walks or just reading a book under the trees. Extremely serene!
Next you can visit Irohazaka Sakura Park (いろは坂桜公園), which is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot among locals and especially photography enthusiasts.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/N6XEoWgVgR5K8GqM6
Located on a hill, even though this is just a small garden it is packed with Somei-yoshino cherry trees with a view of Sakuragoaka city.
A great spot to take photos of cherry blossoms with the city in the background.
No matter where you go in spring, you will see cherry blossoms. Since the roads are hilly and there are quite a lot of stairs to ascend, it is not recommended if you don’t enjoy walking or aren’t fit.
There is also a shrine called Konpiragu (金比羅宮).
If you can read Japanese, feel free to pick an omikuji (fortune).
Continue walking towards Irohazaka Dori, which is also dotted with cherry blossom trees.
This staircase is extremely popular to recreate scenes from the movie.
A great contrast to the cherry blossoms are zebra crossings and when cherry blossoms are in bloom, you can get some unique shots.
So will you visit Seiseki-Sakuragaoka next time you’re in Japan in spring?
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