April 9, 2018 / Mitaka

The Faces of Sakura - Kyoto & Tokyo - Japan

The Faces of Sakura - Kyoto & Tokyo - Japan
Sakura over a Japan local train

It’s Sakura season again in some parts of Japan. The time of year when the cherry trees blossom, filling the streets with beauty. Some of my students showed me their photos, and I can't help but reminisce back to the time I myself witnessed Sakura season in all it's glory.

I traveled to Japan in March of 2015, when Spring had just begun. Although Spring is Sakura season, I didn’t expect to see the cherry blossoms. The initial forecast for Tokyo was in April and I would back in the Philippines by that time.

Japan was bitter cold when I arrived, but for some reason, it relented and warmed after a week. Climate change or just mother nature being moody? I could not tell but I am glad it happened for this was the reason Sakura bloomed earlier than expected and I was lucky to be there to witness it!

First Glimpse in Kyoto

I traveled with my Japanese friend who I endearingly call Okaasan, which is the Japanese word for 'mom'. We were traveling around Kyoto when I first caught a glimpse of the cherry blossoms. It has just started blooming and there wasn't a lot of flowers but they were beautiful enough to accessorize this small temple.
I couldn't imagine how much more beautiful these shrines and temples would be if they were in full bloom!
We found more over a random house's roof.
There was also a night exhibit of Sakura but they were not in full bloom yet. Nevertheless, they looked so gorgeous in the spotlight.

Hanami in Tokyo

After a few days in Kyoto, we went back to Tokyo where there were more Sakura in bloom! I didn’t want to leave Kyoto yet but being surrounded with more of cherry blossoms made the return trip more wonderful.

I stayed at my Okaasan’s place in Mitaka, a quiet residential area within Tokyo, which was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t see a lot of people during my first week here but everyone’s suddenly out for the Hanami which is the Japanese tradition of viewing the cherry blossoms or gathering under these trees for picnics and drinks.

My Okaasan told me that Sakura only lasts a few weeks, but because they have two species, another type would be blooming after this one. It’s still a short period though, which makes them appreciate it’s beauty all the more. It was amazing how locals and tourists alike were outside, appreciating Sakura.

There are several free parks for the Hanami in Mitaka, but if it's not enough for you, there are also several parks with more cherry blossoms that you can visit, for a small fee.

And I Still Couldn't Get Enough

I have seen several cherry blossoms but you can't just get enough. It's all different and beautiful if you would look closer.

Some are lighter pink
Some are deeper pink
Some are white
When you look closer, you see its beauty..
And you realize that they're all different and unique in tiny ways
And if you're tired of Sakura, (which I doubt you ever would) there are other flowers and trees that you can also enjoy at this park. Just don't swim in this pond ;)
Or you can just enjoy the crowd and picnic

Sakura is Everywhere, It's like Heaven on Earth!

During this season, you can find Sakura at parks, in neighborhoods and even at the malls. It's everywhere! My Okaasan told me they even have a Sakura doctor. No wonder they are able to maintain all these stunning trees everywhere.

Over ducks
At a mall
Even more beautiful at night
On the sidewalk
Inside someone's backyard


It's really amazing how Japan has maintained all of this beauty everywhere. It's no wonder some people chase Sakura, starting in the south, following the blooming as it moves north. You just have to be more flexible of your travel plans and go where the Sakura is. <3

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