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Final Hanami with Hachiko at Aoyama Cemetery

Final Hanami with Hachiko at Aoyama Cemetery

Hanami came early to Tokyo this year.

It was April the 1st when we came to Aoyama Cemetery for a final Hanami.

No April joke.

It was already raining flowers and a gorgeous carpet was formed by pink petals.

 

Hanami was coming to an end.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Aoyama cemetery is pretty crowded during cherry blossom but even when Sakura is taking a seasonal break the place is famous for the (tiny) monument of Hachiko.

Hachiko is Japan’s most known Akita dog who has shown remarkable loyalty to his owner Professor Ueno. Hachiko waited for his owner at Shibuya Station every day at the exact time the train would arrive to greet the professor, even nine years after his master has died.

This basically shows how smart and dutiful dogs can be and… how much Tokyo has evolved. Hachiko was waiting for the professor at the Station from 1924 until 1934 when Shibuya was looking like a small village in the wild west and had more of a prairie than city look.

Fast forward almost 100 years and you will still find sitting and waiting Hachiko… as a statue and a mural (facing famous Shibuya crossing) and there even is a community bus named after him running from Shibuya Station. You might have seen the movie  Hachi –  A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere.

Hachiko’s statue is a popular meeting/picture spot at Shibuya Station. Akita Hachiko dogs are used in advertisements.

Hachiko statue with tiny dog shibuya tokyo hachiko police advertisement tokyo

 

Last time we have been walking through Shibuya we found this weird monument. A stuffed white dog with a princess crown on its head. Every year there is a ceremony to honour faithful Hachiko but I am not sure what this was all about.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Hachiko Grave

 

This little bugger sort of resembled the Hachiko monument.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Hachiko Grave

 

The website to this exhibition is bit.ly/hachiko20 but it’s all in Japanese. If you can figure out its meaning, please let me know.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Hachiko Grave

 

Nowadays, there is seriously no room for free running dogs, or dogs at all as a mater of fact. Skyscrapers, huge intersections and futuristic train tracks running through the district.  Shibuya Station has turned into Tokyo’s central entertainment and shopping area.

So we decided to spent our time at a more serene place, the Aoyama cemetery (what a smooth transition to the next paragraph). While enjoying a last Hanami we were looking for Hachiko’s monument right next to his owner’s grave.

HOW TO FIND HACHIKO AT AOYAMA CEMETERY

The grave is tricky to find and is located at the very end of the pictured path, numbered 6/12.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

At the end of the path you will find Professor Ueno’s grave behind a bamboo fence.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

And Hachiko’s tiny monument is right next to Professor Ueno’s grave.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Hachiko is actually not buried here but his stuffed remains are displayed at the National Science Museum in Ueno.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Apart from Hachiko, Aoyama cemetery is a beautiful place to take in nature’s treasures and a break from the bustling city.

 

HOW TO GET TO AOYAMA CEMETERY

Get off at Gaienmae Station (Ginza line) exit 1B and walk for about 10 minutes or take a 15 minute walk from Nogizaka station (Chiyoda line). Location: 2丁目-32-2 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

A lot of gorgeous Sakura trees framed the graves on this wonderful first day in April.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

It was like wandering through a peaceful Buddhist temple.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Fading away.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Sakura bathtub for tiny creatures.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Traces of spring on the ground hiding behind sotoba, a Japanese wooden board on a stand behind or next to the grave with the written name of the deceased.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

A typical Japanese grave is usually a family grave. It typically consists of a stone monument with a chamber underneath for the ashes. There will be a place for flowers, incense and water in front of the grave.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

An interesting feature of some graves: the business card box. Friends and relatives can drop their business card as a sign of respect the visitor has paid to the deceased.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

There is a big memorial stone to the missing crew of the Japanese Unebi cruiser. In 1886 Unebi disappeared in the South China Sea between Singapore and Yokohama. No survivors, no bodies, nor wreckage were ever found.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

I like this cemetery because in its Japnese perfection it remains to be very natural. You can spot fallen stones, overgrown graves and nature’s attempt to claim back its place and the consequences of common earthquakes.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

If you can afford an open air funeral plot at the cemetery you are well off. The budget alternative are locker sized graves kept in underground vaults at grave-apartment-buildings, with the cremation ceremony held on site as well. Space is luxury in a crowded future.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Walking around Aoyama was pure luxury with its lush flora and beautiful bloom.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Hanami for all souls.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Alice in Wonderland would have liked this. So do I! The rose tree looks unreal.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Oh, there we go, Dasza in Aoyama Wonderland.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Sakura on the trunk.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Sakura all around.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Hanami is addictive.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

You should see the blooming feast at Japan’s most beautiful garden to get hooked on flower viewing for good.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Candy for the eyes.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

I am quite positive you can eat those.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Lollipop tulips.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

This spot was magic. The white and pink trees were dancing together in the wind.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

White bobbles.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

More white beauties.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

And their pink siblings.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

It was going to be their last days of bloom.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

The cemetery road lined with blooming cherry trees. What a view the drivers must have.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

A path lined with cherry trees for pedestrians. Hanami is for everyone.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

We spent about two hours at the cemetery which went by in a whisk.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Time flies and so did the petals swirling in the air. Can you see them? Sakura was raining down on us.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

There.

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

Bye bye Sakura!

Aoyama Cemetery Tokyo Cherry Blossom

 

What? No? You want more Sakura… How about the very best places for Hanami in Tokyo. Enjoy!

Meanwhile we got to go home. See you!

Dasza Traveler and Tomek

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