10 Photos That Prove How Beautiful
Cherry Blossoms In Japan Actually Are
“What a strange thing! To be alive beneath cherry blossoms.” – Kobayashi Issa.
These words do not have full meaning until you have truly experienced the Japanese art of Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) for yourself. For centuries Japanese poets have been captivated by these blooms and made attempts to capture their feelings for them in words. But experiencing cherry blossoms in Japan is not a feeling that can be described in words. Even the words of Issa, one of Japan’s most famous poets, do not have full meaning until the reader has truly stood underneath a Japanese Sakura (Japanese for cherry blossom) tree as the golden sunlight beams through the pink and white blossoms.
The art of hanami goes back thousands of years and is a valued tradition for the Japanese. To the Japanese, the blossoms represent the beauty and fragile nature of human life. Each year these trees tend to be in full bloom no longer than 14 days (warm weather may help the blooms last longer), and when they bloom they do so in full brilliance. For the Japanese, these short-lived days serve as a reminder of how tragically short life can be but yet how overwhelmingly beautiful it is.
When the Japanese come together to celebrate the Sakura Festival they aren’t just celebrating the flowers themselves, they’re celebrating something much deeper and more meaningful. The celebrations for the Sakura trees goes beyond just viewing and extends throughout the entire country, making it even more worth your while to visit during this illustrious time.
I had always wanted to see cherry blossoms in Japan, so I knew when the moment arose I had to take it and completely embrace it. At first, I was terrified to be leaving Canada off to this completely foreign country. But the thought of seeing the near perfect pink and white petals was more than enough to convince me to hop on that plane. I’m used to small towns like Banff with smaller crowds and spending time in the mountains with pristine lakes, not partaking in time honoured traditions during one of the busiest times of the year in Japan.
But nothing could stop me from taking in the beauty that is cherry blossoms in Japan.
When I think of cherry blossoms in Japan, the last place I think of is the busiest crosswalk in THE WORLD. I don’t know about you, but for me, there is not usually a direct relation between cities and nature (unless it’s New Zealand where they love the outdoors). Mostly they are kept separate from each other, but not in Japan. The Japanese do an insanely good job at merging together their beautiful flora with their towering skyscrapers and busy streets, much like in Shibuya. Shibuya is known as the world’s busiest crosswalk and it was also the first cherry blossom in Japan that I had the pleasure of seeing. Moral of the story, don’t underestimate the Japanese and their ability to create and ensure beauty is ever-present throughout their entire country.
Sensoji Temple is also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple and is located in Tokyo’s’ Asakusa district. Sensoji Temple is a small haven in the middle of the city where the cherry blossoms combine with epic temples for a view and experience that can only be had in Japan. Cherry blossoms in Japan are very sacred and special, but so are their temples (and there are plenty of temples and cherry blossom trees to see). When you bring together the beauty of the temples with the blossoming trees you witness something that only Japan can offer. Sensoji Temple is especially important to Tokyo because it is the oldest temple in the city, it is also one of the most famous and most photographed. Thousands of tourists and locals flock to the site every year, especially in cherry blossom season.
Sensoji Temple Pagoda
The Sensoji Temple Pagoda is located near the temples itself and is one of the most famous Pagodas in all of Japan. It reaches a height of roughly 53 meters (nearly as tall as an 18-story building) and is said to have originally been built in 924 A.D. However, the Pagoda was destroyed in WWII during an air raid and was later rebuilt. Unfortunately, the inside of this famous landmark is off-limits to most people, but it makes one of the most perfect backdrops for the showcasing the beauty of the cherry blossoms in Japan.
Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima was by far one of the most fairy-tale like places to witness cherry blossoms in Japan blooming. Perhaps it was the way they lined the riverside, or perhaps it was the joy of partaking in the age-old tradition of Hanami (cherry blossom viewing), but Hiroshima seemed to almost ‘take the cake.’ Just outside of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is the Peace Memorial Park. The park is filled with cherry blossom trees that cover the pathways and enchant visitors. We highly recommend bringing a blanket and setting up a picnic beneath the blossoming trees to soak it all in.
Motoyasu River runs past the A-Bomb Memorial Dome which is the only surviving building of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on the city. The river also continues past the Memorial Museum and alongside the flowing waters is a beautiful pathway with cherry blossom trees that branch across and reach into the sky. The pathway walks directly through the Memorial Park and offers a peaceful walk that is full of serenity but also offer visitors a solemn reminder of the tragic past of Hiroshima.
Pagodas and cherry blossoms in Japan go hand in hand and have become an extremely iconic sight that is sought after by hundreds of thousands of visitors and locals alike. If you’re hoping to find that iconic photo or iconic view, look no further that Gojunoto Pagoda on Miyajima Island. The island itself is like a hot spot for cherry blossoms but adding in those iconic red buildings only enhances their beauty. The five-storied Pagoda was built in 1407 and restored in 1533 and is surrounded by blossoms making for an incredibly rewarding view.
After a lot of research, there was no name for this specific pathway or small creek. But, it’s hard not to miss and is located on the opposite side of the Sorihasi bridge and numerous Shinto Shrines. Miyajima Island is well known for it’s very friendly and tame deer, along this pathway you will find a plethora of deer meandering along the small creek allowing visitors to pet them. Above the flowing water are blossoming trees that turn the island from ordinary to extraordinary. While cherry blossoms in Japan do have a tendency to be located along the water’s edge Miyajima offers a unique experience by combining that will friendly wildlife. Feel free to channel your inner Sleeping Beauty and become friends with the animals around you.
Matsumoto Castle is one of Japans premier historic castles and is one of the most complete of all the original castles in Japan. It is well known for its black walls which have earned it the nickname of ‘Crow Castle.’ The cherry blossoms just outside of Matsumoto Castle were just starting to bloom, but that did not take away from just how beautiful these small flowers are. The castle is a very popular cherry blossom spot in Japan as droves of visitors stroll around the castle grounds and parks. The trees blossom around mid-April each year (depending on weather) and line the moat of the Castle.
Nanzen-ji Temple is one of Japan’s most important Zen temples and is the head temples of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism. Inside the temple is a beautiful dry landscape garden (you may know it as a rock garden) that is located just outside of the head priest’s quarters also known as Hōjō. On the outside of this beautiful building, cherry blossoms stretch above the roof as their blooms dangle offering a perfect contrast between Japanese architecture and mother natures.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari-taisha is famous for its 100o tori gates that are a vibrant orange and line the stone path up to the summit of the mountain. Halfway to the top, there is a break in the streams of orange gates and an epic view of Kyoto can be seen as the cherry blossom trees bloom and stretch along the skyline. Not only are you visiting one of the most iconic and Instagram worthy places in Japan, but you get the pleasure of taking in the unique beauty that is cherry blossoms in Japan.
Cherry blossoms in Japan are not just incredibly beautiful flowers, they are a visual embodiment of Japanese cultural and philosophical beliefs. They take the time to celebrate these embodiments every year without fail and allow hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to take part in this unaltered, time-honoured tradition. These illustrious blooms infect people with happiness, love, and a sense of magic. Whether you are in a large crowd of strangers or a small group friends, you are all there to just admire and appreciate something that is uniquely beautiful.
If these photos of cherry blossoms in Japan don’t convince you of how beautiful the country actually is during blossom season, you’ll just need to go there yourself!