Cherry Blossom Chaser in Japan: Tokyo, Akita and Aomori

I have always been fascinated by people who chase storms, driving thousands of miles in order to witness a big thunderstorm. I can understand wanting to watch nature displaying its power. And here in Japan, I have become a chaser of sorts, a cherry blossom chaser, a flower chaser per excellence, covering about 2,000 miles to see nature at its best. And I have seen the most beautiful sights imaginable.

Hirosaki, Japan

Hirosaki, Japan

I spent four days with the flu in bed in Tokyo when I first arrived but dragged myself on the 5th day for a couple of hours to visit Shinjuku Gyoen Park to see the late blossom. Still a little bit feverish, I thought this was a magnificent spectacle. Everyone was out enjoying the day, families having a picnic under the pink blossom shade, children running around, everyone seemed very happy. Coming across the beginning of azalea flowering in the pond area was fabulous.

Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Tokyo, Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Tokyo, Japan

I headed north to Kakunodate, an old samurai town where sadly I was too early by only a couple of days so there was no blossom to be seen. The samurai houses were interesting and simpler than I expected. The 2 km tree filled walk by the river forms a blossom tunnel when it is out which must be amazing. But I just walked it with the buds peeking out. Walking around the town I and everyone else, came across 3 trees that were already in full bloom so I perched myself on a rock waiting for the current bus load of Japanese admiring the blossom to move on so I could enjoy it in relative peace. As I sat there, a Japanese man came up to me, handed me a purple freesia and said “welcome”, bowed twice and he moved on. I was so stunned that I all could do was give him a big smile. It has been a while since a complete stranger complimented me like this!

Senshu Park, Akita, Japan

Senshu Park, Akita, Japan

The city of Akita is pleasant and I was looking forward to Senshu Park. This was like the day in Tokyo, families all out enjoying the blossom and the good weather. As I was walking along a trail I came across a mother and daughter who were very curious and started asking me questions: where are you from, what do you think of Japan, our city, the blossom, what has been your favourite, how long are you staying here. A string of questions that with time would become very typical and familiar. We chatted for a bit and the mother said she made bags, she whipped her bag open, took out 3 fabric bags and said “one is for you as a gift”. Again, I was stunned. This kind of thing has happened to me frequently in the north of Japan. I am left with a very warm, funny feeling in my stomach.

Dusk at Hirosaki, Japan

Dusk at Hirosaki, Japan

I left Hirosaki for the end and I am glad I did. For the blossom here is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Words can only fail to describe the immense beauty of so many pink cherry blossoms against the backdrop of the moat, bridges or castle. There is a small blossom tunnel by the water that you can walk in about 10 minutes so I had a small taste of Kakunodate would have been in its splendour. I have developed a technique to chat to people, I sit on a bench, wait and soon enough someone joins me and it is wonderful to see how curious and friendly everyone is. I am loving this country.

Hirosaki, Japan

Hirosaki, Japan

Blossom Tunnel, Hirosaki, Japan

Blossom Tunnel, Hirosaki, Japan

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One thought on “Cherry Blossom Chaser in Japan: Tokyo, Akita and Aomori

  1. I’m loving your travels and exploration of the beautiful cherry blossoms….sorry you were under th weather and hoping you’re feeling better….xoxoxo

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