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Sakura 2008 in Kyoto

04/15/2008

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About ten days ago, we spent a day in Kyoto to see the cherry blossoms. The conditions were just perfect: saturday, perfect weather and full bloom. Besides, rain was expected on the following monday and it was therefore the only opportunity we had to come...

Although it's only 45 minutes by train from Nagoya, and after a year and a half living here, it was my first visit to Kyoto. It was about time!...But last year, when I was studying Japanese, I used my holidays to go to far places and consequently I still haven't been to cities like Nara or Kobe which are very close!

As Kyoto is large and the cherry blossom spots scattered, we only went to two spots located in the same area. Before I show you some pictures, let me give a few explanations: going and seeing the cherry blossoms is called hanami (花見) and literally means "watch(見) the flowers (花)". One may think that it's a perfect occasion for a romantic date but surprisingly, people generally come with friends to eat, drink and have fun. And there's usually lots of alcohol.

People can come any time, but there are basically three options:

  • come around noon and start immediately: I saw that a lot in Tokyo last year, but not much in Kyoto this year. Not for everyone because it means getting already drunk by 2pm and ending up totally destroyed at night...
  • come at night: very bad idea since there's no more room left to sit...
  • come around noon to reserve a spot: a lot of people do that, either but just placing a cover:

  • or stay there the whole day:

Some companies also organize hanami parties and in that case, they usually send new employees in the afternoon to reserve a spot!...

Now let me show you some pictures of the first spot we went to, Maruyama-koen (Maruyama park), which was gorgeous. As you can see, it wasn't too crowded yet:

A group of friendly students:

Time for a sociological study: why do the Japanese always need to do the V sign when they pose for a picture?...

It's so pretty so here's some more:

The second spot was Kiyo-mizu-dera, one of the most famous places in Kyoto, and another awesome hanami spot:

And a couple other pictures in the same area:

It was really crowded:

At night, we went back to Maruyama-koen pour see the light-ups. The atmosphere was fantastic:

Categories: Customs - Kyoto - Cherry blossoms - Maple leaves

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