And the event extends beyond the cherry blossom season!

Tokyo has numerous parks where you can appreciate the ephemeral beauty of cherry blossoms, and one of them is Shinjuku Gyoen. Located right in the heart of downtown, just a short walk from Shinjuku Station, it’s not only a popular natural oasis year-round, but also a top spot for cherry blossom viewing for many Tokyo-ites in spring.

This spring, though, natural cherry blossoms aren’t the only thing you can appreciate at Shinjuku Gyoen. For the first time ever, projection mapping design company Naked Inc. is setting up shop in the popular park with a nighttime-only, gorgeous cherry blossom-themed digital display to accentuate the beauty of the garden in spring.

The display will expand throughout the park, giving you plenty of opportunities to appreciate the beauty of the season. For example, the area from the Shinjuku Gate to the triangular flower beds will be the “Night Sakura Walk Area”, which will be lit up with lights. Guests can walk along a path lined with cherry blossoms while holding Naked Distance Paper Lanterns, enjoying the unique patterns that each one projects on the ground.

This area also includes the “Sakura Path collaboration with C⁺ Series”, where guests can ride Toyota’s small mobility device, the C⁺ Series, along a path that lights up with mystical cherry blossom-colored lights.

Beyond that space is the main viewing area, and at the center of the display will be a digital art piece — the latest installment of an art project known as Dandelion Project by artist and Naked founder Ryotaro Muromatsu. This piece, called Sakura Dandelion, superimposes digital art cherry blossoms over natural cherry blossoms, and will be connected to Muromatsu’s installations in Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto so that the digital flowers will all be blooming at the same time.

The event is scheduled to run from March 31 to April 23, which, you might notice, is just past the general peak season for blooming cherry blossoms. This is because there are over 70 varieties of cherry blossom trees in Shinjuku Gyoen, totaling over 900 trees, each of which have their own schedule of blooming. The Sakura Dandelion project will move from tree to tree in conjunction with its blooming time, so no matter what night you visit, it’s guaranteed to be beautiful. Still, you might want to time it for mid- to late April, as the most beautiful display is predicted to be when the Fukurokuju cherry tree is blooming.

Lastly, your experience will be filled with cherry blossom beauty from start to finish, as a 100-meter (328-foot) long path decorated with digital cherry blossoms will guide you home as it winds through stately cherry blossom trees.

▼ Even hand sanitizing is made beautiful with five unique animations based on real cherry blossom varieties!

Despite the use of technology, the event is designed to be environmentally conscious as well as beautiful. For example, the digital displays will all be powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology, as used in the Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell car developed by Toyota, and Moving e, a generator and electricity supply system used for powering fuel cell buses.

▼ The Toyota Mirai

The food truck Tree by Naked will also be set up in the park to provide guests with sustainably sourced vegan food to enjoy during their hanami evening picnic. Since alcoholic beverages are not permitted in Shinjuku Gyoen, the truck will be selling non-alcoholic cherry blossom cocktails as well as vegan nuggets, vegan chowder soup, cherry blossom-flavored vegan scones that taste like sakura mochi, and many other items. All of the plates, straws, and utensils provided with the food will also be eco-friendly, made from bioplastics, wood, or paper.

If you’d like to sit on Shinjuku Gyoen’s expansive lawn and enjoy the view, you also have the option to purchase an original picnic sheet, called the “Sakura Leisure Sheet”, for 800 yen (US$5.99). It’s 95 centimeters (37 inches) long and 100 centimeters (39 inches) wide and shaped like a cherry blossom, so it’s the perfect accent for a hanami party.

The event will occur daily after Shinjuku Gyoen’s regular opening hours, starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. (though it may be canceled in the event of inclement weather). Guests can enter and exit only though the Shinjuku Gate during this time. Ticket prices vary — if pre-purchased, tickets for entry from Monday through Friday will cost 1,600 yen for adults, 1,400 yen for students and seniors, and 1,000 yen for children (junior high school age or younger). On Fridays, weekends, and holidays, each price bumps up by 200 yen. Guests also have the option to buy the Sakura Leisure Sheet ahead of time for a 100-yen discount. You can preorder tickets and the leisure sheet at any ticketing machine in a 7-Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart, or Mini Stop.

Tickets at the door are a little pricier — a 200-yen boost for weekday prices and a 400-yen boost for weekend and holiday prices, so if you want to save a bit of money, make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time.

Don’t miss this chance to see the cherry blossoms, even after all the other cherry trees in Tokyo have lost their blossoms! Naked’s displays are sure to show you the beauty of sakura in a whole new light.

Source, images: PR Times
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