Cherry Blossoms and Geishas
Have you ever been so captured by the beauty of something that you pause and take a mental picture attempting to store that gorgeous image in your mind permanently? Yes we all take photos of things on our cameras but this is different. It isn’t just about what you see with your eyes but also the feeling and emotion it stirs inside of you, that special moment it creates for you. Every time you remember you almost feel transported back to that place, to that very minute. I try to do this when seeing new places during my travels. Amazingly enough I am able to remember many of these mental pictures I’ve stored away of some of my favorite places. I may not remember the five things I need at the grocery store if I haven’t written it down but I always, always remember these moments.
I cannot tell you how many times I captured my own mental pictures while we were in Japan earlier this month during the peak of cherry blossom or “sakura” season as they are called in Japanese. The cherry blossoms in full bloom on the trees are just beautiful. When you stare up at them against the blanket of blue sky they resemble pink and white popcorn puffs, so delicate and pretty. They fill the parks and line the streets in Tokyo so it’s hard to miss them if you’re there at the right time. Seeing them in both day and night is a nice contrast. We spent one night in Kyoto and had the pleasure of seeing them at night. It almost felt magical to walk beneath the trees lining the small streets in quaint Kyoto. The lights shining on the blossoms lit up the night sky. It felt romantic and serene. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.
Some photos we took of the fantastic cherry blossoms “sakura.”
While we were walking around Kyoto that night we also were lucky enough to get a close glimpse of some Japanese Geishas. From what I understand the Geishas don’t go out into public much and if they do they move quickly so not to be seen. I didn’t expect to see any during our brief time in Kyoto so I feel especially fortunate we had the experience. That evening there were are a few of them walking along admiring the cherry blossoms also. I was mesmerized by them. I don’t know if it’s their beautifully made-up, delicate faces and hair or their gorgeous costumes but they are just breath-taking to see in person. They were very bashful and seemed uncomfortable with the amount of attention they received. After a stroll up and down along the water they vanished and were nowhere to be seen.
If you want to plan a trip to Japan during cherry blossom season you’ll want to go the first two weeks in April. In the most popular viewing areas like Tokyo and Kyoto cherry blossom season typically takes place in early April. The weather is also a determining factor on whether they will bloom early or later. My suggestion is to start planning your trip well in advance and continually check to see when they think the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom. A good reference to follow the cherry blossom season are online sites such as this one: Japan Guide.
It really is a special time to be in Japan and I highly recommend going during the season if you’re able.