Cherry blossom time is coming… 桜と花見

Spring has come and the cherry blossoms are opening soon all over Japan. For many spring is the favorite time of the year in Japan and I’m no exception well I do like Autumn too with the beautiful autumn colors.

This year I won’t be able to see Tokyo blossoming in sakura (cherry flower) because I will arrive to Tokyo in the begin of May when the main season has officially finished but I did take couple of thousand photos last spring that I’d like to share with you!

Depends how my plans go but I might be able to see cherry blossom in north of Japan since there the season starts later than in Tokyo.

Little Japanese for you.
サクラ (桜) = Cherry blossom (Sakura)
はなみ (花見) = Flower viewing (Hanami)

Did you know that in Japanese TV you can see info when and where the flowers are at their best? .Well you can so keep you eye on the tv shows 😀

Little bit about Hanami (flower viewing)

One of the best things to do in Japan is to get together with your friends under the colorful cherry flowers and drink beer (or something stronger),eat tasty food and talk with your friends.
The first Hanami I went was organized by the Sakura hostel asakusa and since I was renting an apartment from Sakura house (basically the same company) I could join their parties without paying anything. At that time I did not know pretty much anyone in Tokyo but at the hanami where all of us were having fun and drinking I made lots of new friends.
Sakura house Hanami 東京 日本。Tokyo Japan Sakura
Actually about 5-10minutes after this photo was taken it started raining a lot (and I mean A LOT) so everyone quickly packed their bags and ran back to the lobby of the hostel (I know I tolled this story like million times but it was such a fun night). At the hostel we were sitting at the lobby drinking and getting to know one another and after couple of hours someone got this great idea that we should go to a bar that was close called “Samurai bar” (hope I’m not mistaken about the name), in the bar we stayed until the last train.  So even tho the rain stopped our fun under the flowers we still kept the party on!

Here are some of my favorite shots of the cherry blossoms.
サクラ. Tokyo, Japan 東京 日本。
(This one was taken at Shinjuku park in the begin of sakura season)

サクラ。Sakura, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan
(Ueno park)

靖国神社.Yasukuni Shrine .東京 日本 Tokyo Japan
(Near the Imperial palace)

サクラ Tokyo, Japan.東京 日本。
(This one is from erm somewhere near shibuya :D)

One of my favorite shots of last spring was this I took in front Yasukuni Shrine near the Imperial palace.
"I will reach it"  靖国神社.Yasukuni Shrine .東京 日本 Tokyo Japan
These are great too 😀
サクラ。Sakura, Ueno park. Tokyo JapanCamera ready サクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo Japan靖国神社.Yasukuni Shrine .東京 日本 Tokyo Japan

Here are some “closer” shots of sakura flowers.
サクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo Japanサクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo Japanサクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo JapanTokyo, Japan 東京 日本。サクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo Japanサクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo Japanサクラ Sakura 東京。日本. Tokyo JapanSakura サクラ。東京 Tokyo

I need to get myself a macro lens so I could take better shots of them for y’all !

Famous and huge Hanami (flower viewing) happens in Ueno park! Here are some photos and video from there!

花見 上野公園. Hanami, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan 東京 日本花見 上野公園. Hanami, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan 東京 日本花見 上野公園. Hanami, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan 東京 日本花見 上野公園. Hanami, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan 東京 日本 
I took a lot of photos there which you can see more in my flickr!

If you like this post “like” my facebook page 😀 Photographer Ari Helminen facebook

Swedish Party at the Sakura Hostel Asakusa


I’m good friends with manager of the famous Sakura hostel Asakusa and she invited my girlfriend and I to a Swedish party she was having with her Swedish friends at her hostel.

Before I show you photos of this party and tell you the story of the party, I’d wanna throw a advert for sakura hostel asakusa.

If you are visiting Tokyo and thinking where to stay I recommend highly this hostel with it’s friendly staff and great atmosphere. Sakura hostel asakusa also has many different events monthly from calligraphy drawing lessons and Kimono trying  to sightseeing tours as well (most are free or very cheap). When I came to Japan the first time I stayed with Sakura house which is another part of the Sakura company but the first Hanami (flavor watching event in spring) was through Sakura hostel asakusa, they invited me there and I met many friends that has become very close to me here in Japan.

More about the Hostel. Free wifi (difficult to find in Tokyo to be honest) and of course if you are staying there you can use their computers free as well. Great kitchen area where you can actually cook well with all the space.

For entertainment the place has a flat screen tv with game consoles and board games and let’s not forget a piano 😀 !

Top 10 things about Sakura hostel Asakusa:
1st. Free WiFi
2nd. Cheap
3rd. Location, in the middle of Asakusa and close to the station
4th. Staff, some of the most friendliest people in Tokyo. ps. they can speak many languages.
5th. The size of the kitchen area
6th. Events that they organize
7th. trust worthy
8th. Big tv,game consoles and board games for a boring night
9th. Vending machines (alcohol as well)
10th. two great smoking areas right outside

If you have followed my blog you have seen that I go there pretty often to use their wifi and to meet new people and have fun.

(Sakura hostel is not paying me to write this just want to give a advert to the best hostel in Tokyo)

But now to the party !

Party was great ! there were 3 Swedish people, 1 Estonian, 1 Finnish (me), 1 German and 3 Japanese including my girlfriend. So almost all of Scandinavia you might say. Food was delicious as well with traditional Swedish meatballs and sushi with beer and hot wine. I was at the hostel already like 4-6 hours earlier to upload photos and edit, so I was taking photos when they were cooking and putting everything together as well.
Swedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura Hostel
Talking about Sweden with serious faces 😀
Swedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura Hostel

M.O.S. Burger and Pizza-La

Sometimes when I have way too much photos to edit and upload I go somewhere that has much faster internet than my home here in Tokyo and in Tokyo there are only couple of good spots for free internet, one of them is the famous Sakura hostel asakusa ! Very fast free wifi and a great atmosphere with many vending machines and a smoking area near by.

Also if you ever looking for a place to stay while visiting Japan, was it for a week or for months just check out Sakura house and Sakura hostel asakusa and I am sure you will find a cheap place!
Morning at Asakusa sakura hostel
Sometimes when the editing takes way too long time I become super hungry and too bored for anything fancy, I just jump in to the nearest MOS burger for a quicky ! Best fast food in Japan says I !
MOS burger and Pizza-LaMOS burger and Pizza-LaMOS burger and Pizza-La

at that same evening we ordered some Pizza-la takeout to fill our stomachs ! Not expensive pizzas that are good size and deeeelicious ! Pizza-la is very easy to use even for foreigners !
MOS burger and Pizza-LaMOS burger and Pizza-La

I apologize for the many posts in a row, just wanting to clear up some old photos I wanted to upload  (mostly from last week and this week) , since tomorrow is the Tokyo motor show and I will be taking way too much photos there !