I had planned it for a long time, but always found excuses to delay it. Once I’m fully recovered and don’t have to worry about where and what to eat, I told myself. However things do not work this way, but rather the opposite.
Once you dare to do the things that truly motivate you, once you’ve bought your tickets to Tokyo for a 3 week Japan trip on your own, once you arrive there and realize how great and free you’re feeling, how easy it is to connect and meet inspiring people, how plans and opportunities arise, then it’s when you actually don’t care about recovering because there are no limitations to enjoying life as it is.
You forget any struggle and focus on how amazing your life can be and all the beautiful places you get to discover and keep in your memories… and camera.
But enough about me. If you’ve landed here, I guess it’s because you like Japan and the cherry blossom trees right? Let’s get down to business then.
The first time I saw a Cherry Blossoms in Japan was in Kurashiki near Okayama. I highly recommend visiting this historic town, and wander around the Bikan neighborhood alongside well-preserved wooden old houses. Sakura season might be the busiest period, but it’s also the most beautiful time to go.
It’s quite an unrivalled setting for wedding pictures, and so you will probably spot newly weds in traditional wedding costumes sailing along the Takahashi river. You can also say hi to the swan while admiring the sakura.
Next stop in my way up back to Tokyo was Kyoto. Until then I had seen the first cherry blossoms of the year, but was a bit afraid I had planned my trip too early and wouldn’t be able to fully admire the Sakura.
However, as I took my first steps down Kiyamachi Dori, I found myself surrounded by delicate white sleek flowers sprouting from numerous cherry trees. I understood then all the frenzy and even obsession Japanese people have towards their beloved sakura.
The timing had been just perfect. Not too soon, not too late, all the flowers in fully bloom unfolding a mesmerizing view I don’t think I had experienced before. And, although a picture is worth a thousand words, my shots cannot portray the charm of contemplating these fleeting flowers in person.
Especially when you are in Kyoto and locals celebrate the season by wearing colourful kimonos that match perfectly with the scenery.
When you visit Kyoto during the Hanami season you’ll want to make a day trip to Arashiyama. Not only to enjoy the cherry trees but also the bamboo forest and beautiful shrines. Again, it might not be the most quiet and peaceful season to visit, but the impressive views of the trees in fully blossom by the river and mountains are a must see.
A nice spot to capture the happiest day of your life, don’t you think?
After Kyoto I didn’t think I could see any more mesmerizing sakura on my way up to the capital, and it was in part true due to the bad weather that accompanied me in my last days in Japan. On my first day in Fujinomiya, near Mount Fuji, I paid a visit to the Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine hoping I could get views from the Holy Mountain, but I was unlucky. Fortunately, sakura never disappoints.
During my stay in Fujinomiya I went on a tour with a local guide that took us to Taiseki-ji, a temple complex of the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist cult. Entry is free, but in exchange you might be kindly asked to join the church… 🙂 Nevertheless the visit is highly recommendable!
As I was getting closer to Tokyo the rain wouldn’t give a rest and by the time I reached Mishima there were more cherry blossoms on the floor than on the trees. Anyway, you will agree with me that the decor was appealing. Might have looked more lively under the sun, but the atmosphere was so harmonious and peaceful it took you to a better place.
And last but not least, a postcard from Kichijouji near Tokyo where I could capture the last sakura flowers that had survived the rain. Inokashira Park during Hanami must have been sublime, maybe next time I’ll make it in time!
Hope you enjoyed the pics! Did you ever travel to Japan to experience sakura too?