Not known to many people, but Minami-Senju is kind of a hidden gem, known among the locals and hobbyist photographers for azalea spring viewing. The blooms usually start after the sakura cherry blossoms season (mid-April), and last a couple of weeks until around the Japanese golden week (early-May).
During this period, the sidewalks and the center island of Donau Street (ドナウ通り), the main street, will be lined with pink and white flowers, which thanks to my wife, now I know are called azaleas or tsutsuji (ツツジ／躑躅) in Japanese. Azalea is the official flower of Arakawa Ward, and this street makes sure residents remember that.
Wondering why the main street is called Donau Street? Looks like it’s named after one of Arakawa Ward’s sister cities, Donaustadt (Danube City) in Vienna, Austria. I read somewhere that there is also a street in Donaustadt, called Arakawa Street.
The street is also lined with eateries, convenience stores, condominiums, and several shopping centers: Bivi, Lala Terrace, and the soon to open Royal Home Center. Nothing fancy here — no fancy cafes, and definitely no fancy restaurants if that’s your thing, but it has just the right mix of essential shops residents need in their day-to-day lives.
After taking pictures of the azaleas, you can hang out at a local cafe (e.g. Antendo), or maybe one of the several benches over at Lala Terrace. This is where I like hanging out on weekends. It’s the place I go to when I want to read a book, or to just people watch.
When you are in the area, you might even see me reading a book in one of those benches. Make sure to say hi. 🙂