Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Sunday in Fall: Shinjuku-gyouen and Rikugien

Shinjuku Park is one of my favourite places in Tokyo. It is very extensive, which means that even on a Sunday you can walk about without feeling crowded, and enjoy the clean air. I actually met Matcha-kun (yup, him again... in a 3/4 length coat!) near Meiji-dori, to walk down the famous ginko-lined avenue, which was naturally bursting with amateur photographers. But the park was lovely, covered in a carpet of delightfully crunchy leaves to refrain from jumping on (...a bit of self-restraint that lasted all of 10 seconds).

The ginko and momiji were in their full red and gold glory, and absolutely breathtaking. Traditional Japanese gardens contrast with British style enclosures of late roses, and then transistion into chestnut-lined avenues with little benches covered in leaves, which brought back irrepressable memories of childhood walks in Paris' Bois de Boulogne.

Fall truly is Tokyo's best season. Winter is miserable everywhere (except perhaps Okinawa), and although the spring sakura are certainly beautiful, it is really the contrast of gold,red and orange against the grey of the office buildings that is so terribly elegant. Of course, this could just be my love of the very Hermes-like combination of orange and grey.

After several fortifying cups of tea (for Matcha-kun is a big Anglophile) with jaw-dropping amounts of sugar and cream, we proceeded on to Rikugien to see the trees lit up at night (aka 5pm, since the sun goes down ridiculously early).

Rikugien is located near Komagome station, which is not exactly the center of the universe. Thanks to this fact, and getting there a bit early, it was unusually empty for an illumination event. The whole thing was very well done, just enough of the dramatic reds, misty blue rivers, thatched tea-houses and cozy semi-darkeness for a romantic walk.

I can go on walking for hours without refeuling, and sometimes forget other people are not necessarily okay with that... oops?  To replenish ourselves, I took him to Salsita (in Hiroo), a Mexican restaurant I have been eyeing for weeks. It was also, sneakily, a test to see if he is culinarily adventurous. I shouldn't have worried, as we devoured everything in sight! It is totally worth the price (especially the enchiladas with mole, cactus salad and margaritas, yum!) and the tiny restaurant is brightly colorful, with great ambience.


  1. lovely!! u seem to enjoy good food
    we should go for lunch someday!

  2. Hi Yumeko, that is a big compliment coming from you :)
    I am always up for good food/drinks, let me know!

  3. mm looks tasty! i love *real* mexican food~!

  4. Me too, I was so excited when I looked it up on the web, and the Mexican community in Tokyo recommended it! Plus, its close to work!

  5. The leaves are so pretty!

    Ahhhh Salsita, I heard great things about it, but never made it there myself. Good to hear he's a little adventurous with food! It's always a good thing. :)

  6. Hi Fashimi,
    I really recommend it, the atmosphere is great :)
    And Mexican is only the beginning... the real test of bravery is Ethiopian food (yum!)

  7. Are the ginko still like that?! I'm heading up to Tokyo this Wednesday for a few days and if the parks are still this gorgeous, I'll make sure to take a walk through. :D

  8. Hi Indi,
    l can"t vouch for everywhere, but it seems like some are still getting redder! I think you are showing up at the perfect time to see the momiji :)

  9. Even reading about how boring Komagome is made me happy, because it brought me back to the night I had that exact realization. :D And I'll have to keep Salsita in mind next time! I only went to one Mexican restaurant in Tokyo; it was in Sunshine Sixty. I don't really remember the food there, but it's good to know that Salsita can satisfy someone who's lived in the US!

  10. Hi Kathleen, it isn't that bad ;p At least there is a BaskinRobbins (w)
    Salsita is rather amazing :) I didn't want to leave