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22 4 月, 2024

A Journey Through Late Sakura Season in Japan

Greeting! I’m currently winding down an incredible journey through Japan during one of its most magical seasons — the late bloom of the sakura, or cherry blossoms. Unlike the early blooms that captivate Tokyo and Kyoto, my adventure took me to the lesser-traveled paths of Sendai and Hokkaido, where the sakura showers its splendor a bit later. Here’s a glimpse into this enchanting world of pink!

Sendai – A City Awash in Pink

My first stop was Sendai, affectionately known as the ‘City of Trees.’ As soon as I arrived in late March, the city welcomed me with avenues framed by blooming sakura trees. Walking through these pink tunnels, I was enveloped in a soft, dreamy hue that seemed almost otherworldly. The locals, accustomed to this beauty, continued their daily routines, adding a lively buzz to the serene floral backdrop. It’s a unique blend of urban life and natural beauty that Sendai wears exceptionally well.

Cherry Blossom Reports 2019 - Sendai: Approaching Full Bloom

source: Sendai: Approaching Full Bloom, Japan Guide

Hokkaido – The Sakura’s Grand Finale

From Sendai, I headed north to Fort Goryokaku, Hokkaido, arriving just in time for the final act of the sakura season in late April. The cooler climes here not only preserve the blooms longer but also paint a different picture of the sakura experience. The robust petals withstand the chill, making Hanami — the traditional viewing of flowers — a prolonged celebration. Here, amidst the lingering cold, the warmth of the community comes alive as families gather under the canopy of cherry blossoms, sharing meals and stories.

Cherry Blossom Reports 2017 - Hakodate: Full Bloom

source: Hakodate: Full BloomJapan Guide

Moments Under the Sakura🌸

One of my most poignant memories was sitting under a sakura tree in Sendai, lost in the gentle dance of falling petals. The scene was alive with families partaking in Hanami, their laughter mingling with the soft whispers of the breeze. During one such moment, an elderly local noticed my fascination and introduced me to the delights of sakura-flavored treats. Sharing a cup of homemade sakura tea, he explained its preparation and significance. The subtle floral notes of the tea were a perfect echo of the surrounding beauty.

Tasting the Season😋

The culinary world also embraces sakura season, with local stalls and cafes offering a variety of sakura-infused delights. From the sweet, chewy texture of sakura mochi to the refreshing taste of sakura ice cream, each bite encapsulates the essence of spring.

Sakura Mochi

source: Sakura Mochi, justonecookbook

A little-known fact…🤫

Yozakura – Sakura by Starlight

While sakura is traditionally enjoyed by day, experiencing it by night transforms it into something truly magical. Known as Yozakura, this practice involves illuminating the sakura trees after dark. The blossoms, under the glow of lanterns, appear ethereal against the night sky — a scene so mesmerizing that it feels like stepping into a living painting.

Yozakura: The Night Sakura in Japan | Kyuhoshi

Photo credit: Taichiro Ueki at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing. 

Night Cherry Blossom at Gyoya River, Tochigi Prefecture

Photo credit: m-louis .® at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing. 


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