This time last year I was in Japan. It is seeing the blossom out on the trees in the squares around Bloomsbury, which sparks this Proustian response.
Cherry blossom (sakura) season is a big deal in Japan. Hanami––literally “flower viewing”––is a Japanese custom, widely practised by both young and old, and is an appreciation of the transient beauty of nature. Cherry blossom season is a time for women to dress up in their finest kimonos and have photographs taken next to the most beautiful blooms, or for couples to walk, hand in hand, along blossom covered bowers.
There are many famous areas to view the cherry blossom around Japan, including the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto and Takato Castle in Nagano, but my preferred site was in the city of Kanazawa in Ishikawa. There are beautiful walks here in the Castle Park, in the famous Kenroku-en Gardens, but also alongside the Sai River, where it is very easy to escape the crowds and enjoy the blossom by yourself.
Although perhaps this is missing the point. Cherry blossom season appears a time of sharing; of community; of people joining together to marvel at the beauty of their surroundings.
And, if you are ever in any doubt that you might be missing the best blooms, just watch the morning weather forecast. A cherry blossom forecast is provided by a lovely lad with a pom-pom on a stick!
© E. C. Glendenny
Travel writer, E. C. “Easy” Glendenny, is quietly contemplative.