It was a beautiful day today! We’ve had some rain the last few days, so we were so happy to see clear, blue skies for part of the day, today!
I went to four places in Kyoto today: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, To-ji Temple, the Kamogawa River near Keihan Gion Shijo Station, and to nearby Tatsumi-dori Street. Joe was in Hirakata City, on the Keihan Line between Osaka and Kyoto. We had some clouds, off and on, but in between, there were times when the sky was deep blue.
At Kiyomizu-dera Temple, the “someiyoshino” sakura were 100% in bloom. (These are the most common ornamental cherry trees that you see all over Japan.) The weeping sakura there were still only about 50% open. I did not go inside the main temple, but took pictures around the entrance area, which has some beautiful sakura near the bright orange temple buildings.
Next, I went to To-ji Temple. I love the 5-story pagoda, there. It is so tall! It’s the tallest one in Japan. There are some lovely weeping sakura trees there. They are 100% open, and just starting to pass their peak, now, with some petals starting to fall.
Kamogawa River at Gion Shijo Station
From there, I went to Gion Shijo Station to see the weeping sakura trees along the Kamogawa River. The trees there are at their peak, with 100% of their blossoms open. It’s so nice to see these trees with the river in the background. I saw many women wearing brightly colored kimono and taking pictures of each other in front of the pink blossoms. I think this is such a nice Japanese custom.
Gion’s Tatsumi-dori Street at It’s Peak
I returned to Tatsumi-dori Street once again, today. I spent a long time with friends there, from late afternoon into the evening. It is a famous place in Japan for viewing sakura. It has a very historic feel to it, with the small, orange Tatsumi-jinja Shrine and Tatsumi-bashi Bridge, and the old wooden restaurant buildings along the stream. We saw many women and men there in traditional dress for pictures in this wonderful place.
Hirakata City, Osaka
Joe was in Hirakata City, today. Kanasai Gaidai University is there, up on the hill behind the small downtown area. There are two very nice places to see sakura in Hirakata.
One place is along the small river that runs northeast of Keihan Hirakata Station. On one side of the river, there were paper lanterns hanging in the trees and many people sitting under the trees on plastic tarps celebrating in “hanami” parties. “Hanami” means “cherry blossom viewing”. People bring bar-be-ques, and lots of food and drink, to enjoy the coming of spring under the sakura trees. They were so lucky, today, to have such blue sky above the cherry blossoms!
The blossoms here, on this side of the river were 100% open
It is so interesting that, just across this small river, the row of cherry trees lining the bank there are only about 60% open! This is good. It means that there will be two different peak times here for hanami, a few days apart!
The other place to see old sakura trees in Hirakata is the small park up on the hill near the university, by the Happis supermarket parking lot.
Here, too, the trees vary from 100% open at the main street, to 70-80% further down the row of trees.
Today was a great day, in both Kyoto, and in Hirakata.
They say it is supposed to rain all weekend, starting tomorrow, though! Oh no! That’s really too bad if it rains on the peak weekend of sakura! If it gets windy and rains too hard, many blossoms will fall down early from the trees. So sad!
Anyway, sometimes they’re wrong, so we’ll hope for the best! Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for good weather this weekend!
We’ll write more, tomorrow. See you then!
Bua and Joe