Sakura Season in Japan

Sakura Season in Japan

Hanami gives you a great excuse to catch up with old friends. Taken on Kiyamachi near Sanjo street.

Sakura, or Cherry Blossoms, have a big part in Japanese culture. The flowers are arguably the symbol of the country, and have a deep connection to the people of the land of the rising sun. Often associated with the impermanence of life, death and new beginnings, the flowers are also prevalent in Japanese literature and poetry, and have been used as a metaphor for the life of a warrior samurai or a fallen soldier. Because of the short time that the flowers are in bloom, the connection can be made that our time here too, is always fleeting.

 

This is what going ‘Sakura-crazy’ looks like.

Sakura is in bloom in early spring all across Japan. It is one of the most popular times to visit the country, and there is only a small 1-2 week window to see them. The Japanese keep a close watch on the weather leading up to sakura season, with very precise predictions for the bloom time in each area of the country, and the information is broadcasted on the meteorological networks for the nation. The southern islands of Okinawa are the first to bloom, and they do so as early as February, and then moving up northwards towards Hokkaido, which has the latest bloom, occurring sometime around May.

The Sakura season calls for ‘Hanami’, or flower viewing parties. Groups of people gather under the trees to have a picnic and drink sake and beer and enjoy the beauty that surrounds them. Leading up to the Sakura season, many store fronts go “Sakura-crazy” and you can find sakura themed everything and anything under the sun. The flowers also influence the seasonal food, as there are many Sakura flavoured foods and confectionary which are made during that time.

Common snack one can purchase at a Sakura festival – grilled squid on a stick. Pairs perfectly with beer and/or hot sake!

Sakura-mochi is one example. It is a rice cake which is sweet and pink in colour and has a red bean paste centre, and wrapped in a pickled Sakura leaf. Contrary to its name, cherry blossom trees do not in fact produce cherries.

A delicious sakura-flavoured Sake cooler, perfect for the occasion.

Apart from those two magnificent weeks in bloom, the trees are pretty plain-looking year round. Nevertheless, Sakura is something to be marvelled at, as it creates a sea of pink petals and brings with it the warm and comfortable spring weather.

Living in Kyoto for two years, I had the opportunity to experience the cherry blossom season twice. Unfortunately, Sakura season is also tourist season, and many of the temples and shrines boasting the most beautiful sakura are often extremely crowded and not so enjoyable when people are crawling over top of each other, especially when you are trying to take a beautiful picture. Alternatively, I suggest going elsewhere, as there are sakura trees planted all around the city, and there are many amazing spots to be completely surrounded by the pink flowers and truly enjoy the experience.

Sakura Festival at Hirano Shrine

My favourite spots to see sakura in and around the Kyoto region are many of the temples such as Daikakuji, Yasaka-jinja, Kiyomizudera, Hirano-jinja, and on the Philosopher’s Path up to Ginkakuji. However, there are trees spread out all along the river in Arashiyama, and also Kamogawa, closer to the city. Kiyamachi-sanjo is also a great place to sit and chill under the sea of pink.  Some temples like Kiyomizdera offer light up sakura during the season and can be visited after dark to get that brilliant night shot of the flowers.

I definitely recommend the sakura season to anyone and everyone who hasn’t experienced it first-hand. The fleeting beauty of the flowers and the strong metaphors behind them make you think about life itself, and the impermanence of it all. We only have a limited amount of time on this earth. We should cherish it, savour it, and live it out gracefully, as a sakura petal.

Sakura Photography

Sakura Photography

Something to spark my fire…

Something to spark my fire…

 

I have set out to complete a very daunting task…

Explaining and documenting all of my adventures, and sharing them with the world.

After some soul searching, I have decided that what I love to do the most is what I want to do with my life. I want to share my adventures, my knowledge, my stories. I want to show you the most beautiful places in the world through the lense of my camera. I want to create emotions inside of people that are inspiring, uplifting, and full of beauty.

I want my story to be heard.

But, where to start?

Well, from the beginning I suppose. So I am here, writing this, getting it out, while I plan the easiest and least painful way to go through my 1000’s of gigabytes of footage and choose only the best to show you, the reader, the explorer, the one who all of this is for.

Starting from the day I purchased my first DSLR camera and working my way forward, I will give it my all to produce eloquently worded and detailed accounts of my adventures accompanied with beautiful imagery, and inspire you to go out and do the same. So please, grow, share, explore along with me.

I want you to experience it like I have experienced it. So, I will get to work and do the best I can to give you the most authentic experience possible.

Thank you for your ever-lasting support. I won’t let you down, I promise.

-Pompi 

マレーシアのクレイジージャーニー

マレーシアのクレイジージャーニー

親友のカーリーと台湾にいる時、どこでもいいから旅行をしようと決めた。二人でコタキナバルに行く激安チケットを買った。でもコタキナバルって、どこ。。。

それから、人生が変わるアドベンチャーが始まりました。

そのアドベンチャー物語はこちら

その2はこちら

親友のカーリーとレソートのプールでのんびり。