Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Japan: Kyoto 38 - *%#@ Bonkers about Sakura!

Sakura season - the infamous Cherry Blossom season is typically during the end of March, beginning of April, depending where in Japan you are. Lance and I decided to go to THE place to go for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) and geishas: KYOTO!

Everyone in Japan is bustling to get ready for cherry blossoms - stores are selling little pink desserts, even pink rice; ladies are putting on their spring kimonos; and people are planning hanami parties. The weather man is literally massacred if he does not predict when sakuras blossom correctly. Truth is, it is very difficult to tell because the weather fluctuates so much in Spring. The news shows their forecasters with cherry trees daily monitoring them.

So how does one view cherry blossoms?

Hanami parties are everywhere - this is basically a picnic with friends or co-workers under the cherry trees. Someone goes early in the morning to pick a spot, lays down a blue tarp and camps out all day til their friends get off work. Then the fun begins with mini grills, food, sake, beer, and even portable hand held karoake machines. Occasionally it's been known you might see a drunk man strip naked - unfortunately for us, we actually did.

Also cherry blossoms are in bloom for only one week out of the entire year. So if you happen to plan any special trips for it, there is always the risk that you may completely miss the peak. Luckily our trip to Kyoto was right on! And they were gorgeous....