|Cherry blossoms in Nara|
Locals and tourists alike took time to admire the sakura blossoms. Symbolically, the blossoms represent the transience of life. They are stunningly beautiful but last a very short time.
After a few days of rain in Tokyo, many of the fragile blossoms fell from their branches.
Sakura season is celebrated throughout Japan through hanami (flower viewing) picnics. I loved that throngs of people were out enjoying themselves in the gorgeous weather with friends, food and booze. There did not appear to be any open bottle laws in Japan, and yet, somehow there was also no vomit, public urination or litter. I'm quite sure that we, Americans, could not manage this.
|Hanami in Osaka-Jo-Koen (Osaka Castle Park)|
|Cherry blossoms at Osaka Castle|
|Cherry blossom trees in Nara|
Japan celebrates seasonality in many ways including in their food. We found the theme of cherry blossoms incorporated in subtle ways into many dishes we had. Cherry blossom branches were used as garnish and menu items were updated to be pink.
We saw these cherry blossoms for sale. I'm not sure what they were but they sure look pretty.
We also came upon this sweets shop in Ginza and purchased some of the cherry blossom themed sweets. They included a pickled cherry blossom flower on top of a mochi-like pastry and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf.
The weeping cherry blossoms were my favorite to look at. They are so gorgeous.
|The Philosophers' Pathway in Kyoto|
I am so glad that we got to see Japan at one of its most beautiful times of the year!