• Shona McCarthy

Sakura In Japan

Since spring will soon begin in the southern hemisphere, but lock-downs are still in place for all of Melbourne, I thought it might be nice to look at places were cherry blossoms or "sakura" can be found in Japan during April.

(I wanted to reflect upon some of the sakura I saw in Japan early last year. I was in Arashiyama when I took these photos and made the post.) During sakura season in Japan, it can be expected that all tourist locations will be inundated with tourists. But some are more likely to be bombarded than others. I've tried to form a list of places that are probably going to have fewer people during sakura season.

1. Castles

One of the best places for seeing sakura might be castles. Since people are more inclined to associate sakura season with parks, gardens and specially built viewing areas, fewer might think to go to the Castles. When one thinks of Osaka Castle, for example, they would be more likely to associate the location with sakura, and more likely to think of the Castle itself, and the museum inside.

(A view of Osaka Castle in the Spring. The Sakura trees seem small in this shot. But if you look in the foreground you can see that the path and water is strewn with sakura petals. Also, there doesn't seem to be very many people in this photo. Photo from Pexels.)

2. The Outside Edges Of Parks

Most people would simply enter parks during sakura season. And this can result in crowds and congestion. So, if you are finding the inside of the park too busy, it might serve you to wander around the edge of the park. In many cases, the beautiful trees of the park may be perfectly visible, but framed by nice gates and fences. You might not see as much, but it might be more leisurely.

(Image borrowed from Pixabay.)

3. Miyajima Island

When people think to go to Japan to see the sakura, they would normally go to the big three cities; Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. So while Miyajima Island is still a popular tourist location due to its tame deer population, it should be less packed than the bigger cities.

4. Shirakawa Dori

Said by some to be the most beautiful street in the world, Shirakawa Dori would undoubtedly see many visitors during the spring. However, being a street, it is very long, around 5 kilometres. It would take around an hour to walk from one end to the other. I've visited it for myself and seen that some lengths of it are bustling tourist or shopping areas, while other parts are more like quiet suburban backroads. But all of it that I saw was absolutely beautiful. And most of it had sakura. Some areas of it seem to be dull on Google Streetview. But you need only walk on a little further or look nearby to find beauty.

(Image used with permission.)

5. Japanese Streets in General

In Japan, sakura trees are a popular decoration for many streets and private gardens. So, you might not need to go out of your way to see them at all. You may encounter them incidentally. My own sakura experiences in Japan weren't intentional. I managed to come across cherry trees multiple times without even trying.

(Used with permission.)

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