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Sakura round-up, 2024

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

To the right is a clump of white and pink cherry blossoms on a branch. They're sat against an out of focus background

Sakura round-up, 2024

I was concerned about the cherry blossom season this year. It was cold quite late into March, and just as things looked like they were turning a corner, the heavens opened, and high winds rushed through.

Surely the annual Sakura would have been washed and blown away?

Fortunately not, and after a shaky start, the old favorites didn't let me down. And no, I don't mean Kyoto.

Takamatsu

A red paper lantern hangs amongst the cherry blossoms

Located on the island of Shikoku, Takamatsu is a bit further south than Kobe, so it caught the blooms early. While Ritsurin Garden was still finding its stride, the Castle Grounds offered Sakura aplenty.

Samaura Park

Bright white cherry blossom stands proud against the jet black of night

The annual Atsumori display was back in force. It's part light show, part cherry blossom viewing. The trees are lit up in a dazzling display accompanied by a couple of artistic light installations.

Itayado

A cluster of cherry blossoms are in sharp focus against the stone flood defenses and bubbling water of the Myohoji River

Along the Myohoji River is the imaginatively titled Myohoji Park. A tree-lined route runs for over a kilometer, for which I have something of a soft spot. Not least because it's a little over half an hour's walk from my home, and I can visit on a weekday when it's quieter.

Kobe Sports Park

A group of people at the bottom of the frame stand under the pink and white petals of sakura arching above their heads

There are a few places in this expansive parkland to see the trees. Several tree-lined boulevards, a bridge and a splattering of sakura hotspots make for an enjoyable walk.

I went on the day the Kobe Steelers played at the stadium, which was an added bonus.

My local road

Layers of cherry blossom build in a crescendo towards you

Cherry trees are everywhere, and I enjoy walking past an impressive display whenever I go to the shops. At the weekend, when the kids started their new schools, there was a short queue at one spot that worked particularly well for "child in school uniform" photos.

Everywhere else

Cherry trees are dotted all over Japan. From single trees likely sown from seeds dropped by birds to planted boulevards, you're rarely more than a brief walk from one.

If you do come across a tree in bloom, just pause. Let a feeling of calm wash over you and have a few quiet moments of reflection and enjoyment. Then take out your phone and snap a picture or two to enjoy later in the year when you need a lift.

That's what everyone else does.

A yellow bus stands in front of white and pink sakura
Even the local bus station has cherry blossoms

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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