Shakujii Kawa (The Sakura Guide)

The Spot

The Shakujii river is located in the northern part of Tokyo. The interesting part of it (from an hanami perspective), stretches from the JR Oji station to the location where it crosses the motorway near Itabashi Honcho. This is an almost 4km walk along the river, which you can also cover by bicycle. Along the river you will find grassy areas – ideal for a hanami picnic – and playgrounds – if you plan to visit it with kids. Scattered food stalls will keep you full with snacks and drinks. This river is not as famous as for instance Meguro, but it offers a similar layout, minus the crowds. It is a really special spot, which takes roughly a day to enjoy properly.

Pro Photo Tip

This walk offers a unique opportunity to shoot “dreamlike clichés”. The river is often narrow, and the sakura branches are long enough to cover it entirely in some places, producing a white canopy, thick and dense, through which colourful bridges occasionally emerge. Shooting through the blossoms, aiming at the bridges makes for really wonderful shots, in which people seem to walk upon some kind of sakura clouds.

A telephoto lens will be prefect for this spot. To make those creamy “cotton” shots, 135mm seems to be a minimum requirement. The sweet spot is between 200mm and 300mm.
In order to increase the “cotton” effect, use your lens wide open, or opened enough to have a good bokeh, at least in the foreground. The best part for this is between the French school and the motorway.

Access Info

Station : Oji (JR Line)
Entrance Fees : Free
Opening hours : 24H.

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Shakujii Kawa (The Sakura Guide)

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About The Author
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Serial Entrepreneur, 2008 Power50 Award Winner, I am now dedicating my time and energy in promoting a country that has been mine since 2002 : JAPAN!