Whenever I think of Japan, I think of cherry blossoms, and I know that I’m not the only one. Every year in late March to early April, thousands of people flock to Japan to see the beautiful cherry blossoms or the “sakura”, as the locals call it. What I didn’t know when I booked my flight to Tokyo was that the sakura only blooms for about a week before the leaves start falling off, and no one can predict when it will happen. I was going to need some serious luck in order to see them. To me, seeing the sakura is one of those things that you just have to do at least once in your life. I had even brought my cherry blossom dress from Black Milk Clothing along for photos!
At the day of my arrival in Tokyo, on April 1st, the sakura was in full bloom. I was so grateful to Mother Earth for giving me the chance to view the beauty of the Japanese spring. I met up with Victoria and Joachim, two friends from back home, who I also met up with on Bali in March, and together we explored the best spots for the sakura around the city of Tokyo. The most beautiful trees are located in the Ueno Park, but unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones who had heard this. Thousands – and I mean thousands – were gathered there to see the sakura, so there was no way I could possibly get a good photo with just trees and no humans. Still, it was a great experience to see the locals having picnics underneath the trees, which has become a Japanese tradition for when the sakura is in full bloom.
Tokyo was the only place that I got to see the sakura in full bloom, because when we got to Kyoto, which is more south, on April 10th, the leaves had already started to fall. Still, the leaves on the ground covering the streets like pink snow, was even more beautiful in my opinion. All over Kyoto, the leaves were falling as we walked through the leafy streets. One place in Kyoto really took my breath away; the river running through the district of Gion had beautiful sakura trees on one side and during the night time, they were lit up to be admired after dark as well.
The last place that I saw the sakura was in Nara, a small city that was once Japan’s first permanent capital. It’s located just 45 minutes via subway from Kyoto, so Victoria, Joachim and I chose to do a day trip there.
Nara is famous for the many deer running around the city and the deer together with the sakura in the leaf-covered Nara Park made for a beautiful setting.
Seeing the sakura in Tokyo was a great start to 16 amazing days in Japan. It has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I’m very happy that I got to see it in three different places, and having my two friends by my side to experience it with me made it even more special.
I’m currently on Jeju Island in South Korea, where I’ll be spending the next four days before flying to Seoul. I have some posts about my time in Japan planned for the next few days, so stay tuned for more photos and stories from this beautiful country!