This year I was determined to enjoy the cherry blossoms and hay fever with my friends. Luckily it was my mum’s first spring in Japan, so we had an excuse to celebrate.
TIP: Don’t try and wing Cherry Blossom season. Scout out a good place well in advance of the day. Look for toilets nearby, train stations not too close and options for shelter if the weather turns ugly.
I cycled to Osaka castle about 2 weeks into April to check out the scene; every man and his dog was there and the blossoms were barely out! Right near the concert hall were some porta-potties and man were they stinky. I figured my mum wouldn’t appreciate stinky toilets and forests of bicycles so I had to go further afield.
We rode to the river near Tenmabashi station and found entire stretches of grassy riverbank mostly empty. Knowing the weather in spring is unpredictable, train access dictates crowd numbers and toilets are a must I sent out an early email with my location clearly selected.
The party was awesome, everyone brought food and drinks. The weather was not warm, but hey, first world problems.
There are so many awesome places to view cherry blossoms in the Kansai area. A great site to look at is “Hanami Walker Plus” (in Japanese) where they rank the best locations and what facilities are nearby. If you have no Japanese language skills not to worry, just make a list of locations you are interested in, e.g. Kyoto京都 Kobe神戸市 Okayama岡山, then click on some photos that look good, scroll down until you see a pink MAP button – that will take you to google maps.
We found a 1.4km cherry blossom tunnel in Yawata city八幡市, Kyoto on the keihan line, it was spectacular.
These are some pics I took early on in the season, March I think. The Plum blossoms are always out way before the cherries. There’s a small grove at a huge park near my neighbourhood and it’s pretty magical down there on a sunny day. We took a mat to sit on, some baguettes, cheese and ham and entertained our fellow parkies by making sandwiches with our hands and staring at all the men with their big lenses.