Experience Seven Seasons in Tokyo: Unique Events at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo has always strived to be an oasis in the heart of the city. Thanks to its expansive garden spreading over a historical hill, not only does it bring nature and the seasons closer to us, but it also serves as a gateway to Japanese culture. Visit at any time of the year, and you’ll be able to enjoy soothing seasonal sites along with special events and menus that let you experience the seasons through all five senses.
Taking inspiration from the traditional Japanese calendar, in which a year has not four but 24 seasonal divisions, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo invites its guests to experience seven different seasons every year, each one with its own features and highlights. In 2022, the hotel celebrates its 70th anniversary and each season will be marked with memorable events.
Camellia Season (January to February)
Soon after New Year’s, in January-February, the camellias in Chinzanso Garden come into bloom. Also known as “winter roses,” these graceful blossoms come in various shades ranging from pure white and soft pink to deep red. The hill in Chinzanso Garden, called Tsubakiyama (“Camellia Mountain”) has been mentioned in historical chronicles from the mid-14th century as a famous location to view camellias. Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo has strived to restore the scenery associated with the Camellia Mountain. Visitors can currently enjoy the blooms of about 2,300 trees and one hundred camellia varieties in the garden.
The Camellia Season reaches its peak in February-early March, when it is celebrated with a camellia-themed art installation in the garden and other special events.
From January 1st, 2022, the alley leading to the Shiratama Inari Shrine will be turned into a tunnel of tsubaki-ema. Ema are wooden plaques left as symbolic offerings at shrines. They usually have the donors’ wishes inscribed on them. In Japan, it is customary to leave an ema plaque with your wish when visiting a shrine. Especially at the beginning of a new year, a lot of people hang up emas on shrine precincts hoping for a good year ahead. This custom is especially widespread among students preparing for exams.
The tsubaki-ema are exclusive camellia-shaped wooden plaques, only available at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo. How about making a wish for the New Year at Shiratama Inari shrine in Chinzanso Garden? The tunnel with hundreds of camellia-shaped emas will surely make for a lovely picture!
Cherry Blossom Season (February to April)
Chinzanso Garden is home to around one hundred sakura trees of twenty varieties. The Cherry Blossom Season starts here as early as February when the Kawazu-zakura trees go into bloom and reaches its peak in late March when the popular Somei Yoshino variety blossoms. The 2-kilometer sakura alley along the Kanda River, a prime cherry blossom viewing spot that neighbors Chinzanso Garden to the south, is at its most beautiful also around this time.
The ephemeral light pink blooms against the background of historical monuments such as the Three-Story Pagoda, which has withstood several centuries, brings a feeling of awe in viewers’ hearts. During this season, in the evenings, the Tokyo Sea of Clouds has a soft pink hue to match the color of the cherry blossoms.
The delightful cuisine offered at the nine dining facilities within the hotel is prepared with fresh spring ingredients and offered in gorgeous arrangements that reflect the seasonal sites.
The cherry blossom-themed afternoon tea menu offered by lobby lounge Le Jardin is one of the highlights of this season. In 2022, visitors at Le Jardin will be able to enjoy the Sakura and Uji tea Afternoon Tea menu, which consists of cherry blossom and green tea flavored sweet and savory dishes. The green tea is made in Uji, one of Kyoto’s prominent tea production areas. The menu is available between March 15 and April 30.
The Season of Fresh Greenery (May)
By early May, Chinzanso Garden is filled with fresh greenery. The temperature outside is pleasant, making this the ideal season to explore the garden by foot.
Seasonal flowers such as the Japanese iris, azaleas, and hydrangeas grace every corner of the precincts.
Around this time, a bamboo lantern installation can be viewed in the area behind the Three-Story Pagoda. These lights enhance the charm of the garden at night. To enjoy the beauty of the garden from day to night, how about staying overnight at the hotel?
Firefly Season (May to June)
Fireflies are deeply loved in Japanese culture and Chinzanso Garden is one of the very few firefly viewing locations in Tokyo. At peak times, about 500 fireflies can be spotted around Benkei Bridge, the Kokosei Well, and the area around the waterwheel in the evenings.
The Firefly Season at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo lasts from around late May until late June. The magic of the living, blinking lights is enhanced by the sea of clouds and the bamboo lantern installation.
During this time of year, the hotel hosts Firefly Evening events. These include festive dinners held in the Banquet Hall that can be enjoyed by visitors who come to see the fireflies, as well as special restaurant menus and accommodation plans.
Cool Summer Season (July to August)
The summer months of July-August tend to be extremely hot in Tokyo. However, the garden of Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo becomes a haven from the heat. The sea of clouds is released up to 20% longer during this season, making the outdoor temperature feel up to 10 degrees Celsius cooler than in the city.
Visitors can not only bask in the refreshing shade of the trees in the garden, but also enjoy the traditional sound of summer: glass wind chimes.
During the Cool Summer Season, the hotel hosts outdoor events that give visitors a chance to enjoy the evening breeze with drinks and refreshing treats – the perfect combination for a memorable summer evening in Japan.
Autumn Season (September to November)
While the splendid colors of the fall foliage can be enjoyed in late November, the autumn season in Chinzanso Garden starts around late September when the evening air is filled with the songs of crickets and grasshoppers. Visitors can enjoy a scented version of the Tokyo Sea of Clouds during this time of year.
Winter and Holiday Season (November to December)
The highlight of Chinzanso Garden from mid-November is the Forest Aurora, a multilayered light display inspired by the northern lights. The aurora is the latest addition to the garden ahead of the hotel’s 70th anniversary. Viewing the Tokyo Sea of Clouds and the Forest Aurora several times during the same evening is an experience that can only be enjoyed at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo.
In the garden, the pine trees are covered with yuki-tsuri, a system of ropes that protects the branches from breaking under the weight of snow. Yuki-tsuri are a winter feature often seen in traditional Japanese gardens.
The holiday season in December brings light displays and festive Christmas decorations all around the hotel. It’s one of the best times of the year to visit with the entire family and create wonderful memories of the joyous holiday season.
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo’s 70th Anniversary in 2022
In 2022, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo celebrates 70 years since its establishment here at the foot of the Camellia Mountain, on the site of the former Chinzanso Villa, a historical landmark of Tokyo. Do visit the hotel during this celebratory year, either for a leisurely overnight stay, a special life event, or a festive dinner. What awaits is a truly new way to experience the seasons that appeals to all senses. With each visit, you’ll find the same garden but a completely new ambience.
*Images are for illustrative purposes.
*Updated on January 14, 2022