Sumida River in Asakusa under a warm spring sky – Cherry blossoms in full bloom and “Urakasumi”

 

Good evening!
Thank you very much for visiting this blog.
Today I’d like to write about Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) at Sumida River.

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The right bank of “Haruno Urara” Sumida River

It’s spring.
The weekdays of last week were very cold for April in 2019, but it became the normal warm April temperature on the weekend.

The cherry trees along Sumida River in Asakusa started to bloom earlier than usual.
They were almost in full bloom already in the fifth week of March.

I worried about whether the flowers would fall quickly due to the cold weather in April, but the coldness kept the flowers blooming until the first weekend of April instead.

The time was the evening on the first Sunday of April.
I finished my work which I had to finish by Monday morning, and I went out for a walk which is my daily evening routine to Sumida River nearby.

I usually walk to the north from home and go to the Senju direction to Arakawa River.
However, I decided to go to the south to see the cherry blossoms along Sumida River on that day.

Well, I usually walk along Sumida River when I come home from my client’s place, so I could see the flowers every day.
However, but it was always evening.
I wanted to see the flowers in the bright daytime.

The weather was clear and warm, and the wind was blowing gently.
There is a famous Japanese song which starts with such lyrics; “Haru no Urara no Sumida Gawa (Sumida River under a warm spring sky)”.
I felt that the author wrote the lyrics imagining a nice day like this.

Even though the time was still a little passed 5 in the evening,

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There were many people passing by and having Hanami parties.
I live in Taito Ward which is on the right bank (west side) of Sumida River.
This side is well-developed as “Sumida Park”, and we can see many people enjoying picnic parties on blue tarps.

The busy places are between

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The port of “Sumida River Line” beneath Azuma Bridge, and

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The point around “Kototoi Bridge”.

By the way, the origin of the name “Kototoi” is an episode of a poet in the Heian period, Ariwara no Narihira.
When he visited this place on his trip to the eastern Japan, he made a poem;

“A bird called ‘Capital Bird’.
I ask you, because you should know about the capital.
Is my beloved well in the capital, or not?”

It has a word “Kototoi (= ask)” in the poem, and it became the name of the bridge.
There should be about 600m from Asakusa Station to Kototoi Bridge.
The number of picnic people becomes less from this bridge.

If you go under the bridge and go further,

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You get to a place which I think is the best place to enjoy the cherry blossoms along Sumida River.

By the way,

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You can see Tokyo Skytree between cherry trees. (Apologies for my bad photo^^;)

 

The left bank of “Haruno Urara” Sumida River

How is the opposite side of the river?

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There is the Metropolitan Expressway near the left bank of Sumida River, and is another road to Mukojima Interchange between the bank and the expressway. Therefore, the footpath on the bank is very narrow.

However, there are many flower viewing people on the left bank as well, and also

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Food stands, while the right bank doesn’t allow to open shops.

These stands are run by the neighborhood association of Mukojima area.
The left bank is Sumida Ward (the right is Taito Ward).
The rules are different in different wards.

Well, it also might be because there are no shops near the footpath on the left, while the right has convenience stores and department stores.

 

“Junmaishu Urakasumi” under Asakusa’s cherry blossoms

In the last photo of the food stands, there are flags of “Meishu Urakasumi”.
Moreover, it was “Junmaishu Urakasumi”!

(Note: this photo is Amazon affiliate image)

It’s rare to see Sake at such food stands, and if I reached some, they are usually reasonable cup sake such as “Ozeki One Cup”.
Therefore, it was lucky to meet “Junmaishu Urakasumi” there!
I imagine that it might be the influence of the recent Sake trend.

It was a lucky meeting, so I got a cup of “Urakasumi” (it was not only for a topic for this blog).
I payed money to a man of the shop, and he gave me a plastic cup.

The man poured the sake into the cup from 1.8 liter bottle.
He said powerfully like a typical “Edokko” (a word to describe the characteristic of local Tokyo people), “Be careful not to spill the sake!” As his advice, he filled up the cup to the brim.

It was just about to spill, but it stayed in the cup with the surface tension.
I was impressed by the man’s technique!

Go on, but don’t spill it!” He rushed me, so I drank it without spilling out.
I didn’t drink it up at once because I wasn’t well enough and the amount was too much to do it, but the people of the shop still gave me a hand for my work.
I was happy with their friendly service.

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This is “Urakasumi” which I had. A small bag of peanuts was attached to the sake.

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I enjoyed the sake viewing the cherry blossoms on the opposite bank, and the hazy sunset over the town of Asakusa.

Junmaishu Urakasumi” was a fresh, light and dry sake.
I had it in a normal temperature, so I could feel the flavor of rice and sweetness a little even though it was a light and dry sake.
It had many good points of Sake, and I liked it.

The combination with the peanuts was…… It wasn’t good or bad.
Both were simple but also independent by themselves, so it was not a type of combination which I can talk a lot.

 

Flower on Urakasumi

I spent a while viewing the cherry blossoms and the sunset, and then I started to walk home in the north.
The time was half passed 5, but there were still many people having fun.
Well, I couldn’t find a person who was wearing a jogging suit and a coat, and a sake cup in the hand, like me. (Understandable)

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I went further to the north over Sakura Bridge thinking about my life and my business.
There are Taito Riverside Sports Center which was chosen as the official training site of triathlon in Tokyo Olympics, an athletic field, and a baseball ground over the bridge.
Cherry trees are also planted on the bank between those sports facilities and Sumida River.

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I personally think that the cherry blossoms near the sports arenas are more beautiful than those between Azuma Bridge and Kototoi Bridge.
However, this place is 1km from the station, so there are less people and it’s convenient to enjoy the flowers in a relaxed atmosphere.

Therefore, I took time to see the flowers and walked on the path drinking “Urakasumi”.
On the greens under the trees,

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I found a cherry flower.
The trees in this area were turning green in much part.
The flowers seemed to start to fall the day after or so.

Some people say that cherry trees are the most beautiful when the flowers fall. When Japanese people think of cherry blossoms, most people should think of an image of falling flowers.

There is one thing I want to do when I get a cherry flower and sake.

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Floating the flower on the sake!
Well, just one petal would be more stylish, but I got a whole flower so tried it.
I couldn’t feel the change in the taste on my mouth, but I felt that I could feel the sweet flavor of the flower with my mind.

It is said that those cherry trees along Sumida Rivre were originally planted by the 8th Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, in the 18th Century.
Since then, the cherry blossoms have entertained people for 300 years.

The Heisei period will be over soon, and the next period, Reiwa, will come.
The flowers will continue giving people the spring joy in the new era as well.

The world situation is changing dramatically in the last 2 years, and we see the threat of wars around Japan, too.
The Showa period was the age of wars.
There were no wars in the next Heisei period, but there were many natural disasters.

Thinking about Sumida River’s history, I hoped that the coming Reiwa period will be a peaceful age without any wars or disasters, and we can enjoy this beautiful spring scenery every year.

 

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