Last week, Oita City recorded it’s first snowfall in over two years. It flurried most of a day with large, fragile snowflakes and murmurs of school cancellation abounded. Alas, by late afternoon the snow was but a memory and melted away.
The week, as the weather gets warmer, thoughts are turning towards sakura (cherry blossom) time. Park, castles, and and other loitering areas are inconspicuously lined with trees that for only about one week, explode in a brilliant display of white to pink petals.
This year, Oita is predicted to bloom on March 25. As the weather gets warmers, the blossoms follow the weather in a northward direction. You could follow the blossoms for a month if you wanted to.
This is the best time to visit Japan in my opinion. Cherry blossom viewing is deeply ingrained into Japanese culture. The already scenic temples and castles have that added photogenic dimension. Droves of people head outside, play games, eat yakiniku barbecue, drink sake, and otherwise have a good time. Everyone totes around large blue tarps to base their celebrations on.
If you ever plan a trip to Japan, don’t miss the sakura!