Shinjuku Gyoen Japanese Garden – peace in the heart of Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo is not as well provided with green open spaces as London. There are a few parks in the centre, like Hibiya Park, but nothing like the great swathe of green that runs through the centre of London, from St James’s Park all the way to Kensington Gardens. But they do have one magical place; the National Garden in Shinjuku. I always visit Shinjuku Gyoen when I’m in Tokyo so of course I went there last week. It’s azalea season, one of the loveliest times in the park. Let me show you what I mean. Continue reading

Van Gogh and Japan

Van Gogh Twelve SunflowersVincent Van Gogh loved Japan – and Japan loves Van Gogh. A new book, The Sunflowers are Mine by Martin Bailey, published this week, has some intriguing insights into both sides of the love affair, from Van Gogh’s admiration for Japanese prints to the sad fate of one of his sunflower pictures, bought by a Japanese collector. Continue reading

BP Travel Award – Carl Randall

Electric Tokyo © Carl Randall

Electric Tokyo © Carl Randall

I always pop into the National Portrait Gallery over the summer to see the pictures in the annual BP Portrait Award. It’s a popular exhibition and it’s fun choosing a favourite picture. But this year I went particularly to see the 2012 Travel Award winner – Carl Randall, who was commissioned by the Portrait Gallery to paint the people and places along the Tokaido Road (the ancient route between Tokyo and Kyoto) and whose exhibition In the footsteps of Hiroshige: Portraits of Modern Japan is part of the Portrait Award show.  Continue reading

Tokyo Cherry Blossom 2013

Shinjuku cherry blossom

I know, I’m going into cherry blossom overload mode, but I just couldn’t resist sharing some more pictures with you. I took these at Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku National Garden), which is a short walk from Shinjuku Station. I love it and always go there when I’m in Tokyo, so visiting in cherry blossom season this year was very special. Continue reading