Secret Squirrels!

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A famous Japanese animal is the musasabi (Japanese dwarf flying squirrel), but a bit like the Japanese tanuki (raccoon dog) you’d be very lucky indeed to actually see on on your travels in Japan. There are said to be lots of them living in the forests of Mount Takao, not so far from Tokyo. We didn’t see any (they’re nocturnal, so it’s not so surprising) but we did find this nice sculpture of one instead.

Surprising Snow

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We woke up yesterday to find out it was snowing! Not really heavily but it was enough to cover the roofs of houses and the parks with a thin layer of white. I took these photos in Inokashira Park.
Snow in Tokyo is fairly unusual, and snow in Tokyo in November is super rare. In fact the newspapers reported that this was the first time it had snowed in Tokyo in November since 1962, and the only time that snow has actually built up on the ground in November since weather records began in 1875!

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Chrysanthemum Show

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In November some shrines and gardens have beautiful displays of chrysanthemum flowers of all shapes, sizes and colours. Some are just single flowers, and other are huge domes of hundreds of flowers (all from the same plant I think!). A shrine called Yushima Tenmangu (near Ueno in Tokyo) even has a scene with life size historical figures where everything except their faces and hands is covered in chrysanthemum flowers. Apparently these ‘chrysanthemum dolls’ have been made for hundreds of years. They do look pretty amazing!

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A Surprising Sight

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Often when you hope to see Mount Fuji you’re disappointed because it is either completely covered in clouds or you can only see the bottom part of the mountain (or just the silhouette). But today we climbed Mount Takao (only about 45 minutes by train from central Tokyo) and we were very lucky to see Mount Fuji beautifully when we got to the top. No clouds covering it at all 🙂