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The Cherry Blossoms of Seiseki-Sakuragaoka

The setting for the Ghibli film, 'Whisper of the Heart'

In Tokyo's Tama City, you'll find an area locally known as Seiseki-Sakuragaoka. Here, come the annual hanami cherry blossom viewing season, the beautiful blossom trees around the station and in places like Sakuragaoka Park are easily appreciated.

The full impact of the beauty of these cherry blossom trees, known as sakura in Japanese, can be seen along the Tama River that leads up to the local roundabout. They really are a sight to see.

Seiseki-sakuragaoka is famous for being the location of the Ghibli animation film, 'Whisper of the Heart' and here you will find the roundabout and the castle tower hill known as Tenshu no oka in Japanese that featured in the movie.

The cafe on which the movie's own Chikyu-ya cafe was based on had already closed down some years ago. However, the neighbourhood is home to other places like the cafe, Atelier Tassel as well as the confectionery store, Noa. The scenery around this area is very much like the world found in the Whisper of the Heart.

In full bloom, the sakura trees on the roundabout opposite the shops are very pretty when spring comes around. You really can feel the season's arrival as you walk along the road that leads from the station to the roundabout. Along the way, the remains of the Sekido castle tower - the inspiration for the film's own castle tower - make for a must see spot for fans of the film.

Seiseki-sakuragaoka is a peaceful area with a very different feeling to central Tokyo. If you are a fan of Whispers of the Heart, then a visit here is definitely recommended!

Getting there

It is around a 30-minute train ride from Shinjuku to Seiseki-sakuragaoka Station on the Keio Line. It then takes about 15-20 minutes to walk from the station to the roundabout.

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