Cherry Blossom Time in Japan - 2015

This is an album of photos taken during our trip to Japan from late March to mid-April, 2015. We had not visited Japan before and we chose our dates carefully, hoping to be there at "Cherry Blossom Time".

That, in itself, was not as easy as it may sound. Cherry blossom time varies a little each year with weather conditions being the main factor affecting the dates. Also, the blossoming starts in the south of Japan, working its way north over a few weeks, with the mountainous western areas being a couple of weeks behind the eastern regions.

But our planning worked well and we arrived in Tokyo at about the same time as the early blossoms. As we worked our way south to Kyoto and Nara we entered the full glory of cherry blossom time. Later in our journey, as we travelled through the mountainous western region, we were again in the early blossom time.

To visit Japan is to visit a country of large, modern cities with amazing transport networks. The Shinkansen, or "Bullet Trains", are amazing and the entire network functions like clockwork.

But, beneath the modern appearance, an older culture still persists. It is seen in various religious and cultural ceremonies, for example, the famous "tea ceremonies". Also among these is the culture of "hanami", or "flower viewing" at the beginning of Spring when cherry blossom time arrives. Familiy groups picnic beneath the trees in every park and garden where cherry blossoms can be found. And that's almost everywhere.

So, our trip took us through various areas of Honshu, from Tokyo and Kamakura, to Hakone and then further south to Kyoto and Nara. From there we stopped in Hiroshima en route to Miyajima, before heading for Osaka, Kanazawa and Takayama on our way back to Tokyo.

The photos are unapologetically biassed toward the cherry blossom experience. That's why we chose the dates we did and we are more than happy with the result, even if the weather tried hard to frustrate us.

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001.Senso-ji, Tokyo
1. At Senso-ji, Tokyo
002.Cherry blossoms at Senso-ji
2. Cherry blossoms in Senso-ji, Tokyo
003.Denbo-in Extra
3. Denbo-in gardens, Senso-ji
004.Hozomon Gate at Senso-ji - Crop
4. Hozomon Gate at Senso-ji
005.Senso-ji by night Crop
5. Senso-ji temple at night
006.Pagoda at Senso-ji by night - Crop
6. The Senso-ji Five Storied Pagoda
007.Senso-ji lanterns
7. Lanterns at Senso-ji
008.Blossoms in Imperial Palace gardens
8. Cherry blossoms in the gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo
009.Blossoms near Imperial PalaV2 Crop
9. Blossoms near the Imperial Palace, Tokyo
010.Blossoms nr Imperial Palace
10. Cherry Blossoms near the Imperial Palace, Tokyo
011.Blossoms nr Imperial Palace
11. Cherry blossoms, Tokyo
012.Cherry blossom
12. Cherry blossom
013.Kamakura blossoms
13. Kamakura Blossoms
014.Kamakura Daibutsu
14. The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu)
015.Kamakura Daibutsu
15. The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu)
016.Kamakura Daibutsu
16. The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu)
017.Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine Crop
17. The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura
018.Mount Fuji
18. Mount Fuji
019.Tonosawa blossoms
19. Tonosawa Blossoms
020.Tonosawa Blossoms
20. Tonosawa Blossoms
021.Tonosawa Blossoms
21. Tonosawa Blossoms
022.Tonasawa blossoms
22. Tonosawa Blossoms
023.Shinkansen at Odawarra
23. Shinkansen at Odawarra
024.Shinkansen at Odawarra
24. Shinkansen
025.Kyoto blossoms
25. Kyoto Blossoms
026.Kyoto blossoms
26. Kyoto Blossoms
027.Kyoto blossoms
27. Kyoto Blossoms
028.Kyoto blossoms
28. Kyoto Blossoms
029.Kyoto blossoms
29. Kyoto Blossoms
030.Kyoto Hanami parties
30. Kyoto Hanami Parties
031.Kyoto Cherry Tree
31. Ancient Cherry Tree in Maruyama Park, Kyoto
032.Kyoto evening blossoms
32. Kyoto Evening Blossoms
033.Kyoto evening blossoms Crop
33. Kyoto Evening Blossoms
034.Fushimi Inari shrine gate
34. Torii Gate entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
035.At Fushimi Inari Shrine
35. At Fushimi Inari Shrine
036.At Fushami Inari shrine
36. At Fushimi Inari Shrine
037.Fushimi Inari gates
037. Gatekeeper at Fushimi Inari Shrine
038.Fushinimi Inari gates
38. Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine
039.Torii Gates Fushimii Inari
39. Tunnel of Torii Gates
040.Torii Gates atFushimi Inari shrine Crop
40. Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine
041.Philosophers Walk
41. The Philosophers Walk, Kyoto
042.Philosophers Walk
42. Philosophers Walk, Kyoto
043.Philosophers Walk
43. Umbrellas on the Philosophers Walk
044.Philosophers Walk
44. Philosophers Walk, Kyoto
045.Todai-ji at Nara
45. The Todai-ji Great Hall at Nara
046.The Nara Daibutsu
46. The Nara Daibutsu
047.Kannon Bodhisattva
47. Kannon Bodhisattva figure at Todai-ji
048.Todai-ji at Nara
48. A second view of the Todai-ji at Nara
049.Nara blossoms
49. Nara Blossoms
050.Nara Hanami groups Crop
50. Hanami groups at Nara
051.Nara blossoms
51. Hanami picnic groups at Nara.
052.Hiroshima A-bomb dome
52. Hiroshima A-bomb Dome
053.Shukkei-en garden Hiroshima
53. Shukkei-en Garden, Hiroshima
054.Miyajima Torii gate
54. The famous Miyajima Torii Gate
055.Wet Miyajima lion
55. Miyajima Lion
056.Itsukushima shrine Miyajima
56. Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima
057.Miyajima Torii Gate
57. Miyajima Torii Gate
058.Toyokuni Shrine and pagoda, Miyajima
58. Toyokuni Shrine and Five Storied Pagoda, Miyajima
059.Dotonbori, Osaka
59.Dotonbori, Osaka
060.Dotonbori lights, Osaka
60. Dotonbori lights, Osaka
061.Kanazawa blossoms
61. Kanazawa Blossoms
062. Kenroku-en gardens
62. Arriving at Kenroku-en Gardens, Kanazawa
063.Kenroku-en gardens
63. Arriving at Kenroku-en Gardens
064.Kanazawa Castle
64. Kanazawa Castle from Kenroku-en Gardens
065.Kenroku-en gardens
65. Kenroku-en Gardens Cherry Blossoms
066.Kenroku-en gardens
66. Kenroku-en Gardens
067.Kenroku-en blossoms
67.Kenroku-en Blossoms
068.Kenroku-en blossoms
68. Kenroku-en Garden Blossoms
069.Kanazawa Castle
69. Kanazawa Castle
070.Kanazawa castle
70. Kanazawa Castle
071.At Kanazawa castle moat
71. Kanazawa Castle Moat
072.Pink Kanazawa blossoms
72. Pink Kanazawa Cherry Blossoms
073.Beside river in Kanazawa
73. Kanazawa Lanterns and Blossoms
074.Kanazawa blossoms
74. Blossoms beside the river in Kanazawa
075.Old Kanazawa
75. Higashi Chayagai - Old Kanazawa
076.Old Kanazawa by river
76. Crossing the Saigawa River again
077.Kanazawa old town by river
77. Old Kanazawa Houses by the River
078.Kanazawa by the river
78. Kanazawa River Embankment
079.Takayama floats
79. Takayama Festival Floats
080.Takayama gates
80. Takayama Torii Gates
081.Lights of Shinjuku Tokyo
81. Lights of Shinjuku, Tokyo
082.Lights of Shinjuku Tokyo
82. Lights of Shinjuku, Tokyo
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All images copyright Les Moore and Sabine Westland