Celebrate: Cherry Blossom Season

Alright, right off the bat, I’ll admit this entry is a bit of a cop-out. 🙂 If you follow me at all on Facebook (just search Uncover Japan), you’ll know that I just returned from a somewhat impromptu but rather amazing trip to Shikoku. (I’m a bit tired. Hence, none of the usual themed entries today.) As it was my first time in Shikoku ever (I know … seven years … sad, right???), I tried to soak up as much as possible. That included as many cherry blossoms spots as we could find, but sadly, we were a tad too early.

So imagine my delight when we roll back into Kumamoto on Sunday night to be greeted by this sight on our very own street:

The street just outside my apartment building
The street just outside my apartment building

Lovely, isn’t it? Now, I’ve never actually been a huge fan of cherry blossoms. I much prefer the palette of colors in autumn. But with rain on the forecast for the entire rest of the week, I fell into that manic trap that pervades the psyche of every Japanese person from late March to mid-April.

Must. Hanami. Now.

Pink sakura in Kochi
Pink sakura in Kochi

What’s hanami? (Or ohanami, as it is reverentially referred to)? Instead of repeating myself, check out my post from two years ago on the sakura picnic culture of Japan. It really is an event not to be missed.

Sakura at a rest stop near Matsuyama
Sakura at a rest stop near Matsuyama

And so I didn’t. After prepping our bentos and grabbing our “leisure sheets” (the fancy Japanese word for plastic mat you put on the ground for picnics), I trundled my daughter off to Kumamoto Castle this afternoon to enjoy the blossoms at their best. They hit full bloom yesterday so we really timed it right. Of course, we hit massive crowds and a ton of traffic downtown but it was worth the effort to get in our hanami picnic of 2015.

Doing o-hanami at Kumamoto Castle
Doing o-hanami at Kumamoto Castle

The pictures in this entry are from both Shikoku and Kumamoto in the past week. Wherever you are in the world, I hope they brighten up your day!

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