Aoyama Botchi (Cemetery) is a prime cherry blossom viewing party spot in
central Tokyo. A cemetery may not be everyone first choice for a party but it
gets unbelievable crowded here during the season.
The cemetery occupies 26,000 square meters in one of Tokyo’s most
fashionable neighborhoods. It has been in use since 1872 and has more than
100,000 family graves. As cremation is standard in Japan only the ashes are
buried here and generally in family graves so space is not a real problem. In
Japan ghosts are generally not seen as dangerous but they can cause "trouble"
to daily life.
There are about 200 cherry trees here lined up along a one-kilometer route.
As the park is lit up at night cherry blossom viewing parties often continue
until late night. The best spots are claimed early morning or the even the night
People usually bring their own food supplies to cherry blossom viewing
parties but there are always stalls set up with freshly prepared food on sale
ranging from fried noodles to yakitori (chicken skewers) and fried squid on a
stick. In addition Domino’s Pizza does a roaring trade in this cemetery by
delivering pizzas directly to the party. Orders are taken by phone and once the
pizzas are delivered to the cemetery you are called to your cell phone to locate
the venue of your party! Unhealthy amounts of sake and beer are consumed. As is
tradition in Japan parties clean up after themselves and the garbage dumped at
special points leaving the park remarkably clean despite the huge number of
Aoyama cemetery is easiest reach from Nogizaka station on the Chioyda line.
Alternative entrances are close to the Gaiemmae station (Ginza line) and
Aoyama-I-chome station on the Ginza, Hanzomon and Oedo lines.
Mexico City, Mexico
March 28, 2002
From journal Sakura: Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo