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sakura.

I went to Japan! Kicking off Japan posts today. 🙂 My number one reason to go to Japan in the Springtime: to see the sakura (cherry blossoms)!

I followed the 2019 Sakura forecast on the interwebs and picked Nagano as my prefecture of choice for spotting the blooms (it worked out with the dates we were able to travel). I monitored the forecast up until we left for Japan, just in case we had to change any trips. The timing was perfect!

We spotted so many different types of sakura. Here’s where we went:

Garyu Park, Suzaka, Nagano, Japan

The trees weren’t fully bloomed yet, but it was still worth the trip because the park was so peaceful. The reflection on the water made for some postcard-worthy shots. We enjoyed food on sticks from a local vendor and strolled around the pond.

Ueda Castle, Ueda, Nagano, Japan

Here, the trees were in full bloom. So impressive! We arrived in the afternoon so it was a bit crowded with both tourists and locals, but it was festive – food vendors lined the pathways, photographers had their super zoom lenses, and people were picnicking under the trees. We even chatted and snacked with a local Nagano-ian.

Joyama Park, Nagano, Japan

One last spot for sakura viewing. This one has to be my favorite in Nagano because the trees were in full bloom and it wasn’t crowded. There were just a handful of people; one girl was drawing sakura up close. What a lovely way to spend the morning. I swoon over this sakura-lined walking path! I didn’t want to leave.

Kenrokuen Park, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan

Just when I thought my cherry blossom chasing was over, they were still in bloom (falling from the trees at this point) at Kenrokuen Park in Kanazawa, Japan. We stopped here en route to Kyoto. The fallen petals were like pink snowfall. We enjoyed a meal under one tree, hung out under another tree, and I totes fangirled under this massive pink ‘weeping’ sakura tree (above). Meep, I want one!

I enjoyed seeing cherry blossoms in all stages – just before full bloom, full bloom, and after full bloom. There were sprinkles of cherry blossom trees all around Tokyo and Kyoto, too, as well mini sakura forests along the Shinkansen (bullet train) lines. My tip if you want to get up close without a car: visit the “popular” parks and gardens, and go early if you want the trees (mostly) to yourself.

PS I made a sakura-inspired crown (and matching boutonniere for Hubby) and got sakura nails for all of my sakura frolicking in Japan. Can you tell I’m a fan? 🙂

Do you love cherry blossoms, too? Share your favorite cherry blossom viewing spots.

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