Inokashira Koen, the sprawling park in Tokyo’s Western suburb of Kichijoji, was my backyard. Having grown up in the area, I spent countless days after school and weekends exploring the park on bicycle or on foot. There always seemed to be a section that had been magically added; that I hadn’t discovered yet.
The park was known for many things: a lake and rowboats associated with an urban legend that predicted couples who rowed together would break up, a grisly murder, and – for a short week in late March – a multitude of cherry trees whose blossoms turned the park white and pink.
Of course this was pre-drone days. And so I naturally knew the park only from a pedestrian’s perspective. But last month photographer Danilo Dungo, using a DJI Phantom drone, captured some spectacular aerial photos of the park and its gorgeous cherry blossoms, giving us a rare and special vantage point. Capturing the ephemeral cherry blossoms as they fall, the lake can be seen covered with a beautiful layer of pink.
After several high-profile incidents like a drone landing on the Prime Minister’s roof, the flying devices have come under scrutiny in Japan. And there are now even police drones that can capture rogue drones. But Dungo seems to have avoided attention by shooting early in the morning, which adds an extra layer of misty beauty. (And also, no crowds of people!)
You can see more of Dungo’s shots from this year’s cherry blossom season in Japan over on his NatGeo Your Shot page. Japan’s cherry blossoms usually do get all the attention for their short-lived beauty. But equally ephemeral are Japan’s Nemophila, or Baby Blue Eyes. And if you missed the cherry blossoms you can still catch this astounding sea of flowers that cover the land from late April to early May.