Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 Sakura, cherry blossoms

Hi everyone. I'm back to blogging. Sakura, otherwise known as cherry blossoms, were in full bloom last week and the week before last in many parts of Japan. At present winds are sending lots of petals fluttering down. It is a really beautiful sight. I like watching the falling petals.

If you ask Japanese people, "What do you like about cherry blossoms?", I'm 100% sure that many of them would answer, "I like the way the blossoms fall down." You can see pretty pink patches of fallen petals here and there now.


I'm always a little bit crazy about sakura. This year I went to several places to see the blossoms. What you see below are some of the photos I took in Tokyo, Boso peninsula in Chiba prefecture, Kobe, and Yoshino in Nara prefecture.









There are in fact many types of sakura -probably more than 100 types in this country. Generally, the first bloomer is Kawazu-zakura which starts blooming in early March. Its pink color is deeper and brighter than other types of sakura blossoms.



Kawazu-zakura blossoms ↑↓




Kawazu-zakura blossoms ↑↓



weeping cherry blossoms


Somei-Yoshino blossoms ↑↓



And then, usually in the middle of March, Somei-Yoshino cherry trees begin to bloom along with other types such as Oshima-zakura and so on. The petals of the Somei-Yoshino are white with a hint of pink in their center. It is the most popular and numerous variety now in Japan. 

The Somei-Yoshino is in fact a crossbred cherry, the origin of which is obscure, however, a lot of people say that it is a hybrid of Oshima-zakura and Edo-higan cherry trees. 

Oshima-zakura blossoms

The Somei-Yoshino was first cultivated in the Edo period by gardeners in a village called Somei in Edo (Tokyo). It takes its name from this village, and also from Mt. Yoshino, the most famous place for cherry blossoms in this country. 

The ones in Washington DC are also Somei-Yoshino. As the Somei-Yoshino cherry trees all over Japan and in other countries are supposed to come from cuttings originally taken from a single tree in the Edo period, all of them are in fact the clones of the original tree. 


Somei-Yoshino blossoms ↑ ↓




When I was in Kansai recently, I had a chance to go to Mt. Yoshino in Nara prefecture. Located in the deep forests of the Kii Mountains, Yoshino is one of the three sacred sites in the Kii Mountains range, which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Surprisingly, there were few Somei-Yoshino cherry trees there.  Instead, mainly Shiroyama-zakura, a type of mountain cherry (yama-zakura) native to Japan, were in bloom there. ↓



cherry blossoms cover the whole mountain in Yoshino. 



Yoshimizu Shrine ↑↓

In the 14th century the shrine served as the temporary seat of Emperor Go-Daigo after he set up a competing imperial court (the Southern Court) at Yoshino. 





I ate sakura-flavored ice cream in Yoshino.

there were lots of tourists and hikers.


This year I saw sakura in bloom in cities and fields and on mountains. I think wherever they are, they always brighten up my heart. I'm sorry that cherry blossom season is almost finished leaving pink petal tapestries on the grounds. Oh I forgot -Double-flowered cherry trees are going to bloom soon. They are beautiful too! 














coming soon!






26 comments:

Linda Starr said...

Your cherry blossom photos are wonderful, it truly must be a sight to see, we have some cherry trees blooming here right now and they are so inspiring to me.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Lovely post.

Brigitta Huegel said...

Dear Sapphire,
thank you for this really, really beautiful journey through Sakura! I am so glad that your breathtaking photos allow us to look in awe and rapture, and I am content that I don't have to say: I love this more or that - I couldn't. The petals on the roads and on the water - such gracefulness! Utterly impressed I am by the view of the mountains with the wild cherries - I think one can got drunk through the eyes.
To eat an icecream with that flavour must be interesting!
Here the cherry season is also almost over - but the double filled and more intense pink cherries just start to bloom.

cosmos said...

吉野にも行かれたんですか!私は今週末位に行こうと思っていますが。先週末にかけて東京の桜見物に行ってました!いやあ、すごかったです。千鳥ヶ淵、隅田川クルーズ、新宿御苑・・・どれもそのスケールに圧倒されました。東京って、人口密集していて窮屈に思うのに、公共の場は実にゆったりと緑の多い事に驚きます。
でも心に沁みて印象的だったのは靖国神社の桜でした。何か心を突かれるものがありました。日本の心、魂みたいなものを感じました。
まだまだ桜の追っかけは続きそうです。

☆sapphire said...

Linda

Thank you! I write a post on cherry blossoms every spring and you read my sakura post every year. Thank you so much!

Laoch of Chicago

Thank you!


Dear Britta

Thank you so much for your kind words. I can't help writing a sakura post every April. I suppose all the bloggers living in Japan write something about sakura in spring. It's funny that we have always been crazy about sakura since about 1000 years ago. Looking forward to seeing your double-flowered ones!!

cosmosさん

コメントありがとうございます。そうでしたか。東京に遊びにこられたんですね。この頃はお天気がいいので、楽しいご旅行になったことでしょう。東京はじつは桜がとても多いのです。桜密度が日本一だとか。靖国の桜はやはり特別ですね。靖国はなんだかんだと海外から言われますが、あの時代に戦死された方々を思うとね....久しぶりに奈良県に出かけました。大和は国のまほろばですね。

Massimo said...

this is just amazing, I believe in this season your Country is just fantastic !
thank you for sharing with us.
have a good day, buon giorno !

Hikarino Chou said...

Dear Harumi,

Your photos are amazing, I enjoyed them as well as your article!
How was the sakura-flavored ice-cream?
In Romania, the cherry blossoms are almost gone, but we have shidare-zakura (imported from Japan) which are in full bloom and they are so romantic. You can find my photo here, I hope you like it!: http://hikarinochou.deviantart.com/art/shidare-sakura-445129082
The people from here love the shidare-zakura because they love and admire Japan.

Hugs from Romania,
Cristina

you-wee because said...

This is really one of the blogging highlights of each year - your post about sakura - the cherry blossom season in Japan, Sapphire! Wonderful to see with what type of concentrated passion you shoot and collect the different periods and variants of cherry bloosoms to generate this fantastic post out of it. Now I've got an rough idea where you've been and what you've done the last weeks... ;-)

I closed my comment function for a while because of various reasons to make a break from blogging for a while. I'm really looking forward to coming into contact with you again with new ideas and impressions after a while! Take care on you and your family,
all the best from Germany,
Uwe.

Minoru Saito said...

こんばんは。とても詩的で美しいブログです。もしかして吉野の山ですれ違っていたかもしれません。
 ソメイヨシノの故郷は、我が家のすぐ近くです。
 ソメイヨシノを見つけたと言われる、伊藤伊兵衛の墓がある、西福寺には徒歩で10分位です。駒込駅の北口に染井吉野記念公園があります。

Charlene Doiron Reinhart said...

So breathtaking and such beautiful photos...it makes me think spring is having a wake up celebration and showers the earth with petal confetti...thank you :-)

Mekkan said...

These are just breathtaking pictures! More than this, I am always impressed with an amount of knowledge you put in in English. I love reading your blog.

Linda said...

Your photos are breathtaking and spectacular!!! I look forward to many more posts. Thank you so much for sharing, and thanks, too, for your kind comments on my blog posts, I really appreciate it.

☆sapphire said...

Massimo

Thank you so much for your kind words!

Hikarino-Chou

Glad to hear that you liked my photos. I didn't know that your country imported Shidare-zakura cherry trees from Japan. I like Shidare ones very much though I didn't take many photos of them this year. I think the ones in Kyoto are really fabulous. I'm going to read that post on your blog soon.

YWB

Thank you so much for your kind words. While I took a break, I was taking pictures when I was unoccupied.
I think April 20 is Easter. Have a good time during the Easter holiday! Looking forward very much to your new photos after the break!

☆sapphire said...

Minoru-san

ありがとうございます。”ソメイヨシノの故郷は、我が家のすぐ近くです” そうだったんですね。その記念公園に行ったことがありません。駒込であまり降りないので。こんど機会があれば、お墓や公園を訪ねたいです。貴重な情報、ありがとうございます。

Charlene

Thank you so much!
"spring is having a wake up celebration and showers the earth with petal confetti."
I love how poetically you describe the spring scene!!

Mekken and Linda

Thank you so much for reading this post and lovely comments.
I really appreciate it.

Jasmine T. Blossom said...

Mt. Yoshino is so beautiful in spring! ^^
Oh, I went to the Boso Peninsula this spring as well! :D
Maybe we even were there on the same day. ^_____^

Awesome photos as always!~

sharon said...

oh my goodness!!! wow ..a wonderful sakura primer! the mountain blloms were stunning...and the photo through the windows breathtaking..thank you

YONKS said...

What a spectacular display. I would love to see this in person one day!
Thanks for the tour.
Di
X

☆sapphire said...

Jasmine

Oh you went to Boso too. I'm going to read your post on the peninsula soon. Maybe we were there on the same day. Thank you for your kind words.


Sharon and YONKS

Thank you so much for reading this post and your kind words. I really appreciate it.

stardust said...

はぁ~とため息の出る美しさ。桜の国に生まれてよかったとつくづく思います。今年は開花宣言から満開までがとても速く、まだ5分咲きくらいだろうと思って行った佐保川沿いではもう満開でした。(コメントありがとうございました。) 桜フレーバーのソフトクリームは、桜餅フレーバーだと思いません? 桜のシフォンケーキではそう思いました。

Magia da Inês said...

°✿✿⊱
♪♫

Belo post.
Tantas flores, alegria paz os olhos, paz e harmonia para o ambiente.

Bom fim de semana!
Beijinhos do Brasil.
°º。♪♫♬° ·.

Suze said...

So many amazing images in this post, Harumi. I so love that you included the sakura-flavored ice cream! I cannot think of you without thinking of sakura. That is the way it has always been for me.

P.S.Photography said...

WOOW ,so breathtaking , never though that there are so much of this wonderful blooming trees !
Thank you so much for sharing.

☆sapphire said...

Yokoさん

ありがとうございます。そうそう、桜餅ですね。吉野の桜ソフトクリームは、200円から300円ぐらいまで値段のばらつきがあるようですね。ハーゲンダッツのチェリー味とは異なり、なんだか懐かしい味がしました。桜餅風味のシフォンケーキ、おいしそう!!

Magia da Inês

Thank you so much!

Suze

Thank you for reading this post. Unlike cherry-flavored ice cream, sakura-flavored one tastes a little bit salty but I think it is quite fragrant.

P.S.Photography

Welcome to my blog and thank you so much.

zoe said...

my favorite event!! i love that there are so many places to go to see things blooming....cherry blossoms are so gorgeous, all of them, and that mountainside covered in them is just amazing....
thank you!!!

Ela said...

What wonderful photos of flowering trees ! Really gorgeous !
Greetings

Tante Mali said...

Oh, how wonderful!!! What a lovely journey! Thank you for sharing!
All the best to you
Elisabeth