Viewing cherry blossom trees was not the primary purpose for our trip to Japan, but we hoped to see them in full bloom, hoping that the migration of the bloom from south to north would cross our path somewhere along the way.
On the day we arrived in Tokyo, it did not look promising. The cherry blossom tree next to our Dormy Inn Hotel in Hatchobori was totally bare, no leaves, no cherry blossom buds. It looked dead.
The next day, we went to a district just north of the Chuo line’s Shinanomachi train station in central Tokyo, three stops from the Shinjuku station. We were surprised to find, on a side street between two office buildings, a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. I wondered why only this tree? Did the sun’s reflected heat from the buildings cause the blossoms to bloom before the others in Tokyo?
We spent one day traveling to Sado Island, returning the next day to the same Tokyo Dormy Inn Hotel. Sado Island is located on the Japan Sea, across from Niigata on the west coast of Japan.
When we returned to Tokyo, to my surprise, the bare tree next to our hotel started sprouting cherry blossom buds. How quickly they emerged. At the rate they were developing, I figured the flowers would be in full bloom in a couple of days. However, that would be after we left Tokyo for Kyushu. Sigh.
While sightseeing in Yufuin Floral Village in the north-eastern part of Kyushu, I came across a cherry blossom tree that seemed to have just finished its blooming cycle. Some of the flowers were starting to wilt, but they were beautiful nevertheless.
I thought Japan’s cherry blossom migration was now somewhere on Honshu island, perhaps Hiroshima, perhaps Osaka and Kyoto. I was afraid we had missed it by a few days. As they say, timing is everything.
That day, wife and I took a train to Fukuoka to catch a plane for Okinawa the next afternoon.
After checking in at our Dormy Inn hotel in Fukuoka, we walked down the main street to the Canal City shopping complex in search of a restaurant where we could have dinner. Lo and behold, along the way on a connecting side street, we came across some trees in full bloom. They were beautiful! Magnificent! I went berserk with my camera.
After dinner, we walked to the Hakatagawa River. There were little eateries along the river promenade.
I took a picture of a young man behind the counter of his eatery. I asked if I could take his picture. He replied, “Hai! Daijobu desu!”
Several white cherry blossom trees were in bloom along the edge of the river.
I named this photo “White Cherry Blossoms Under the Lamplight.”
The next afternoon, we left Japan for Okinawa. We were happy. Our wish had come true. We saw the cherry blossoms in bloom. Domo arigato gozaimasu, Nippon! I will always remember your cherry blossoms.