Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hanami and Spirit Gauge

First Day of Sakura. 
Ben and I have been enjoying the sakura this week. They exploded out of no-where, and are already fading away.

This is the river near our house, one of the banks is completely lined with sakura.

Hanami is the Japanese term for flower viewing. Generally it is accompanied by a picnic, and possibly some sake. Today was the perfect day for appreciating the sakura. We stuck to just Uenohara, which turned out to be a fantastic choice.
 This is the grove just next to our house. It took us about three minutes to walk there. The town is completely littered with sakura groves, or paths lined with blooming trees. 
After the grove just by our house we went to the buddhist temple close to our house. In Japan there is a saying. "You're born shinto, you're married a christian, you die a buddhist." This refers to the rituals performed at each stage of a Japanese person's life. There is a huge graveyard attached to the buddhist temple near our house. It's beautiful, and the view of the city from it is breathtaking.

View from the graveyard

 After we toured around our house, we went to Lake Ohno. It's famous for Hanami. It's in west Uenohara, we had to drive there. It was everything we could have asked of the beauty of sakura. One of the sides had well groomed paths, while the other had hiking trails, and was completely wild.
Shrine on the Lake

 I liked the wild sakura better. Ben and I felt our spirits completely revitalized.  We start to feel just a little lost if we haven't seen some real nature in a while. The bird calls, overgrown paths, and spectacularly beautiful sakura groves made us feel like we could absolutely take on the world. Ben and I joked that our spirit gauges just needed a little ramp up. We love it in Japan, we just really need hikes.

The water was an amazing teal color

After climbing up a very steep hill we were rewarded with a perfect place for a picnic. 

There was a small shrine at the top of one of the hills, It was unkempt, but this gave it a certain appeal. 


  1. Absolutely beautiful! This would be a beautiful tourist destination - still Japan, but not Tokyo.

    1. Thank you! It was a great day. So beautiful!