I had timed my visit to Japan with the Sakura’s Festival, where cherry trees all over Japan are in bloom. It is quite a magical sight and the Japanese enjoy this period of the year tremendously and you can see them having picnics under the trees everywhere the sakuras bloom. The best spots are reserved quite early in the morning by pre-installing a tarp on the ground at the beginning of the day. In Japan, there is such a thing as the bloom forecast and you can easily figure out the best place to witness the phenomenon at the time of your visit.
You might wonder why it is such a big deal, as it might be difficult to imagine why flowers would have such an appeal. I will admit that I could hardly imagine myself just how enchanting and peaceful it would all be. First, we’re not talking about solitary trees, but actually large grouping of them.
They are simply beautiful, with soft rays of light cascading down branches heavy with blossoms. Nothing more and nothing less. It has a way of lifting your spirit by reminding you of the beauty in the world and the wonder of life. There is something quite zen about it, quite different from the breathtaking mountains or mesmerizing underwater landscapes I have been privy to, but in so many ways so fitting for Japan.
I imagine many poems were written under such trees. While the J and I haven’t written odes to spring during our stay, we did spend a lot of time appreciating the sheer beauty of our surroundings. The national gardens became a favorite napping and reading place.
My favorite spots, when we went in mid-April, were along the river in Asakusa District and in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.