Spring special: sakura in Japan

Photography and retouch: Valya

Venue: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara

Camera: Nikon Coolpix P7000 & iPhone 6

Music: Inuyasha’s lullaby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eqVlxjbUpY)

Spring is the famous cherry blossom (sakura) season in Japan and every year millions of tourists travel to the land of the rising sun to witness it. This year my sister was fortunate to be there for a short vacation and her friend’s wedding, and she visited the old and the new Japanese capitals – Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo. So I asked her to share a few of her photos here as her previous set of photos from Manhattan (https://kirilson.com/2016/12/25/christmas-special-over-manhattan/) were greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy the cherry blossoms and the random collection of Japanese things I decided to select and comment on (you should blame me for any inaccuracies).

We start chronologically with Tokyo and some cherry blossoms in front of one of the numerous Shinto or Buddhist temples.
But the sakura blossoms can also be found in much more unexpected places, like the entrance of this restaurant in Shibuya, one of the popular districts in Tokyo for going out. Based on my visit Japan I can say that no collection of photos can do justice to Japan without some truly weird ones like this.
This is a peach blossom tree in front of the Roppongi Hills skyscrapers in the Roppongi area in Tokyo, one of the most international neighborhoods.
From skyscrapers to temples and from Tokyo to Kyoto and its famous Golden Pavilion (seemingly the only place in Japan lacking cherry trees in its garden).
Kinkaku-ji or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a Zen Buddhist temple built in 1397 when the preexisting villa was purchased by Shogun Yoshimitsu and transformed into the present temple complex with the surrounding gardens.
Kyoto was the capital of Japan in the middle centuries and consequently the forests and mountains around the city are packed with old Zen Buddhist and Shinto shrines and temples and beautiful gardens with cherry blossoms with small lakes and rivers running around.
Part of the Mao shan shrine, another temple in the forest near Kyoto. It was built in worship of a Lord defender that came from Venus millions of years ago to protect all living things on Earth. I can’t really say that all this makes much sense to me.
The gardens of the Imperial palace in Kyoto.
Some cherry blossoms next to Kamo river in Kyoto.
Moving to central Kyoto and its old geisha (also called geiko) neighborhood Gion next to the river. Gion and Ponto-cho are beautiful districts with well-preserved architecture from the old times and many traditional bars, restaurants and entertainment places (hence the collection of sake bottles under the windows).
Gion in the evening with a tourist passing by the omnipresent sakura blossoms.
Next stop was Nara, the even more ancient Japanese capital that preceded Kyoto. The cherry blossoms are however brand new.
Probably everyone knows the passion of Japanese people for photography. This, together with their obvious passion for cherry blossoms, is the only explanation I have for this massive crowd gathered under a cherry tree on the streets of Nara.
Todai-ji, one of the biggest Buddhist complexes in Nara built in the 7th century AD. It hosts the biggest bronze statue of Buddha in Japan making it very popular for tourists and their selfie-sticks.
Another point of view to the Todai-ji temple just to reassure people that cherry blossoms truly are everywhere.
Some magnolia blossoms in Nara accompanying all the cherries around them
The Wakamiya shrine in the forest near Nara with plenty of deer walking peacefully around the tourists.
A last photo from Nara and Japan with the pagoda of the Kafuko-ji temple. With or without sakura blossoms, the land of the rising sun can be pretty impressive.

36 thoughts on “Spring special: sakura in Japan

  1. Absolutely stunning photos. I went to Kyoto so have seen the Gion district and the Golden Pavillion. Thanks for a lovely memory of my visit. Your sister’s photos are so much better than mine.


  2. Thank you for sharing these utterly enchanting sights…and, I really enjoyed your narrative (very engaging)…and, I have to say that cherry blossoms have to be among my top three favourite trees….along with apple trees and weeping willows. 🙂


  3. Lovely photos. I don’t know if it’s available anywhere on the internet(maybe BBC Iplayer?) but there was a good programme recently about the cherry blossom festival in Japan – Springwatch on BBC 2:
    Originally aired Friday 21 April, although I saw the repeat last Saturday, which was ironic as I was sitting in a hotel room overlooking a huge cherry blossom tree.
    God is sending me a cherry blossom message.


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