Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Just as I was beginning to feel the terrible onset of Easter weekend creme egg cravings (easter doesn't really exist here, and trashy English chocolate certainly doesn't), the famous Sakura no Hana (Cherry Blossoms) saved the day!

Phew! Too excited to be grumpy from lack of sugar-flavoured wallpaper paste anymore, I decided to go on a "cherry blossoms tour" of Tokyo.

First: Inokashira Park. Everywhere was packed with picknickers

even though the afternoon was so freakishly cold that it seemed more like the dark first days of February than mid-April:

So, even though the pedaloes and swan-shaped rowing boats did their best to distract

it was too cold for me. I admitted defeat and went home...

...only to wake up the next morning ready for more! That afternoon I found myself in an astoundingly pretty 'blossom tunnel' under the ancient cherry trees of Ueno Park

Wow! The park was heaving

and all the more magical for it, too.

Nearby, Yanaka Cemetery was smaller, just as pretty, and slightly less packed with young people on the pull (though no less full of staggering drunk dads playing guitars, or simply rolling on the floor)

I caught the bug - and despite not having had even one drink, I started making silly faces and running about like a lunatic.

Some of the cherry trees on Kamakura's main street are supposed to be almost 1000 years old. It's famous for them, people told me. Last time I was there I'd had to imagine the avenue down to the main shrine covered in a blanket of petals. But I didn't have to imagine it any more when I arrived this time

Gorgeous as Main Street was with its lanterns and gently falling confetti, Hasedera Shrine a mile or so down the road, won the beauty contest. Again. Last October I loved it because of the stacked library made of fragrant Japanese cedar. This time, I fell in love with a giant tree so full of blossoms it might have been a oversized stick of candy floss

 Tree=candy floss. There is no higher compliment as far as I'm concerned.

The cherry blossoms (and even more interestingly perhaps the hordes of happy people viewing them) are not finished yet. No. Roll on this weekend...I want to see more!

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