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Joenji Temple, a Hidden Gem for Cherry Blossom Viewing in the Skyscraper District of Nishi-Shinjuku

This video, titled "[Sakura] Joenji Temple - Tokyo - 常圓寺 - 4K Ultra HD," was uploaded by "TokyoStreetView - Japan The Beautiful."
There are places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo, and Joenji Temple, located in Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, in Japan's Kanto region, is one of them.

The area around the cherry blossoms is lined with high-rise office buildings and luxury hotels, and the weeping cherry blossom standing majestically in the midst of the metropolitan skyscrapers is a hidden gem for viewing cherry blossoms.
From 0:08 in the video, the cherry blossoms can be seen lit up at night, a sight that will make you forget that you're in the middle of a city.

Surprisingly, there are many temples and shrines in the Shinjuku area, and once you begin to look for them, you'll find many power spots where the hustle and bustle of the city seems to disappear.
The temple shown in the video, Joenji Temple, is located along the busy Ome-Kaido (Ome Highway), but once you set foot on the approach, you'll feel as though you've stepped into another world.

Joenji Temple – The History of Shinjuku’s Hidden Gem for Cherry Blossom Viewing

Image of weeping cherry blossoms at Joenji Temple, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Photo:Weeping cherry blossoms at Joenji Temple, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Joenji Temple is located just six minutes from Shinjuku Station on foot, and is said to have a history dating back 600 years.
The temple was moved from Hatagaya, Shibuya, to its current location in Nishi-Shinjuku on September 13, 1585.
The precincts of the temple are approximately 1,100 tsubo (~3,600 Sq. m) in size, and include the main hall, the soshi-do (founder's hall), a large study, Naka-mon Gate, the bell tower hall, the storehouse, and other halls.
The large weeping cherry tree that appears in the video is planted near the temple gate, and when it is in full bloom, the cherry blossoms can be seen from the Ome Kaido that runs beside Joenji Temple, attracting many visitors every year.
The large weeping cherry tree has been called one of the "Three Trees of Edo" and "One Hundred Cherry Trees of Edo" since the Edo period (1603-1868).

Unfortunately, during WW2, most of the temple was destroyed by air raids, but in 1952, thanks to the contributions of the temple's parishioners, the temple was rebuilt after the war.
Since Joenji is a Nichiren-Shu temple and its scripture is the Lotus Sutra, the Shoin (temple office) also serves as the Joenji Institute of Nichiren Buddhism, and there are gravesites of historical figures such as Tsutsui Masanori (a historical site designated by Shinjuku Ward) on the temple grounds.
The current head priest is Genichi Oikawa, who inherited the Triratna from the 40th head priest of Joenji.

Sakura, Sakura – A Traditional Japanese Folk Song

Image of someiyoshino cherry blossoms
Photo:Someiyoshino cherry blossoms

The background music used in the video is the folk song "Sakura, Sakura," which any Japanese person knows. (It is commonly known in Japanese as simply "Sakura").
There is a theory that this song was originally written as a Koto exercise, but the author is unknown. It was not until the Meiji Period (1868-1912 A.D.) that the song was popularized as "Sakura Sakura," and in the Showa Period (1926-1989) it was selected as a song for elementary school music lessons.

In addition, there are two versions of the lyrics, one written in the Meiji Period (the lyrics used in this video) and the other revised in 1941.
The 1941 version seems to be the one adopted in most school education today.

The lyrics can be translated as follows:
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
In fields, mountains and villages
As far as the eye can see.
Is it mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the rising sun.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Flowers in full bloom.

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the spring sky,
As far as the eye can see.
Is it mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the air.
Come now, come now,
Let's go and see them.


The best time to see and see the weeping cherry blossoms at Joenji Temple in Shinjuku

The highlight of Joenji's cherry blossoms is "Daishidare-zakura," which usually reaches its peak from late March, but in 2023, it bloomed earlier than usual on March 19th for 4 minutes and was in full bloom on March 19th.

The lights will also be lit up according to the best season.The towering buildings and weeping cherry blossoms behind you are a great photo spot.It entertains many people's eyes.

Tokyo's cherry blossom forecast for 2014 is March 23.On the official website of Sangwonsa Temple, the blooming status and lighting period of the cherry blossoms are updated from time to time, so please check them out.

Summary of Joenji Temple, a Hidden Gem for Cherry Blossoms in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Image of Joenji Temple, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Photo:Joenji Temple, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Joenji Temple is about a 6-minute walk from Shinjuku Station on the JR and private railway lines.
The temple is located along the Ome Kaido, a main highway, making it very accessible.
The large weeping cherry trees on the temple grounds are a must-see!

Please note that the bloom season is short and there is a slight time lag in updating bloom information on bloom tracking websites.
There are many other shrines and temples in the area between Nishi-Shinjuku and Higashi-Shinjuku where Joenji Temple is located, so be sure to check them out when visiting Tokyo, and collect your goshuin stamps!

【TripAdvisor】Joenji Temple

Written By
Last Updated : Feb. 21, 2023
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori
Experience the Large Weeping Cherry Blossoms at Joenji Temple in All Their Beauty in the Metropolis of Shinjuku, Tokyo! Enjoy Beautiful Cherry Blossoms Lit up to
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