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Japan: Tokyo (Meguro River: Winter Sakura Illumination)

The Meguro River (Meguro-gawa) is almost five miles long and flows through Tokyo passing through the Setagaya, Meguro and Shinagawa wards, finally flowing into Tokyo Bay. Its beautifully landscaped banks are very popular for the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) ritual each spring. The neighborhood of Nakameguro through which the Meguro River flows has over 500 cherry trees lining both sides of the river. Visitors arrive early from all over Tokyo to reserve spots along the river to picnic and to simply enjoy the beauty of the sakura (cherry blossoms). In the evenings, the trees are lit up and afford a romantic atmosphere where one can enjoy the beautiful pink blooms.

In the winter months ever since 2010, Nakameguro transforms for the Winter Sakura Illumination. Starting from Nakameguro Station all the way to Ikejiri-Ohashi Station, the cherry blossom trees are brilliantly illuminated with pink LED lights mimicking the sakura blooms. The pink bulbs are powered by bio diesel fuel produced from the used cooking oil collected from homes and restaurants in the area. So not only is the display visually pleasing, it is also ecologically beneficial. It is estimated that 400,000 LED bulbs light up the walkways along the river from late November to Christmas day.

After viewing the lights display you can dine at one of the many trendy cafes, traditional Japanese restaurants or izakayas that are nearby. The neighborhood also has numerous art galleries, fashion boutiques, specialty shops and design stores where you can browse.

Nakameguro is bordered by Ebisu and Shibuya, and served by the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and the Tokyo Kyuko Electric Railway Toyoko Line.

Meguro River during sakura season

Meguro River during sakura season

Meguro river sakura (2)

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