You hear about how popular Sakura (sah-ku-rah), otherwise known as Cherry Blossoms, are in Japan and nod your head, say “That’s nice”, and think you understand. But you don’t understand until you get here and see it.
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Today’s photo is a wide shot of the Oto river in Okazaki. This was taken towards the end of the blossoms, so many had already fallen. But you can still see a few on either side of the river. You can also make out the lights among them. Typically, most cities light up the blossoms at night. We call them yozakura when lit up this way. Some places go all out and use tons of lights, making the tree glow.
To say cherry blossoms are a big deal in Japan would be an under-statement. Every year between February and April, Japan turns white and pink. The white ones (soimeyoshino / 染井吉野 / そめいよしの) are the most popular. These bloom in late March/early April in Honshu (the main island of Japan) and line up nicely with the beginning of the school year. Because of this, many Japanese see the blossoms as the start of the new year.
The someiyoshino is actually a fairly recent variety, being developed in the mid to late 19th century. Despite this, someiyoshino have become so deeply associated with cherry blossoms that most movies and books of old Japan feature them, even though they didn’t exist at the times these works of fiction show!
As always, click on the photo for a larger version, and go to my flickr page to grab the full resolution version if you want it. Also, read more on someiyoshino and cherry blossoms in general from wikipedia.
These pink cherry trees are called kawazu-zakura (kah-wah-zoo zah-ku-rah). They are very popular in Izu, but not so much in the rest of the country — not as much as the white (someiyoshino) ones anyways. I happen to prefer these over the white variety.
Let’s try something new here. I take lots of photos and occasionally post them on this blog. I want to post them more often, so I’m going to put myself on a schedule here. Every week I’ll post a photo of the week. Today being Tuesday, let’s make the day for the photo of the week post every Tuesday. If I can keep this up, I may increase it to a few times a week. Baby steps, eh?
This one below is taken from the Oto River. The river is lined with cherry trees. I’ve been told there are over 1000 trees. It doesn’t seem like nearly that many to me, but then again, there are a lot of them. When they bloom, the entire river is white and pink.
Be sure to click through to Flickr if you want the full-resolution version.
Spring is here, and Spring in japan means sakura, or cherry blossoms. It would be an understatement to say sakura are popular. Most cites have at least one park with hundreds to thousands of sakura trees, and the favorite spring activity of most people is walking under the cherry blossoms, watching the cherry blossoms, picnicking under the cherry blossoms (hanami), and getting drunk under the cherry blossoms.
The sakura are so popular, tv stations will track their blooming across the country and give forcasts for best days for seeing them.
I’m writing this from my iPhone, so here are a number of sakura photos I have taken with the phone. Enjoy!