Spring undercover and Almost picture perfect

This weekend cherry blossom season had to be at its peak in Tokyo. The timing may somewhat differ in different places out and around the city, and the difference  is measured by the percentage expression of cherry blossoms already in bloom on a selected tree or trees. People start following the forecast from February or so, planning the time and place they will go to enjoy the hanami.

A path under a blooming cherry tree. Maizuru-jo Park, Kofu.

So did I… Knowing that March is going to be crazy at work (as it is the end if financial year for most Japanese companies), I thought that the first weekend of April will be the perfect choice. Well, not quite so, despite the fact that last year such plan worked out really well.

I am sure you have seen that iconic photo with a five-story pagoda, cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji in the background. Picture perfect at its best, everyone will agree. And this was the place I wanted to go this year for a picture perfect of my own.

On the way from Shimoyoshida station to Arakurayama Sengen Park and Chureito pagoda.

Maybe because it was April 1st, the nature played a good trick on us. The views from Shimoyoshida station did not look promising, it was snowing and barely around zero or plus one or two degrees Celsius. Random visitors were almost running the 397 steps leading to the five-story pagoda (aka Chureito pagoda) and another twenty or so steps to the observation deck not because of impatience to see the view, but rather to get warm.

Entrance to Arakura Fuji Sengen Jinja shrine.

397 steps towards the sky (or the five-story pagoda with perfect view).

And as you can already guess, cherry trees were sleeping covered in snow and not at all in a hurry to bloom. I was looking around this winter wonderland with a booklet in my hand announcing that “Cherry blossom campaign 2017” has started here on March 25th.

Cherry trees in the snow…

The view was nevertheless amazing. No matter the weather or the season, you can still have your picture perfect, even if without Mount Fuji or the cherry blossoms.

Almost picture perfect, Chureito pagoda, Arakurayama Sengen Park.

The takeaway: if you target the mountain, you may first wish to look around in the valley… 😉

Same day, a short drive away. Cherry blossoms at Maizuru-jo Park, Kofu.

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment,
Take the moment and make it perfect.”
(Zoey Sayward)


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