Blog, Japan, Photos

Sakura and Hanami

April 7, 2014

The past two days have been filled with cherry blossoms (called sakura (桜) in Japanese) and 花見 (hanami; cherry blossom viewing).

These photos are from a few different places; around the outer walls of Nagoya Castle (名古屋城), at Meijo Park (名城公園), and at Tsuruma Park (鶴舞公園).

On our way to the park, we passed by the castle. There were a lot of people out, since it was a lovely day. All along the castle walls are cherry blossoms, and when the wind blows it looks like it’s snowing. We were lucky to have an absolutely beautiful day.

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Around the castle’s moat is a walkway, also decorated with tens of trees. Rhea stopped on a bench to pose for a photo.

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What would a post about cherry blossoms be if there were no photos of close-ups?

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From the castle we headed over to the park. Although it’s hard to see in this photo, there were quite literally thousands of people at the park as well. A lot of people were walking around to enjoy the view, while groups of others were having picnics under the trees. There were people playing guitar and singing, people with jump ropes, and soccer balls, and even a few pairs hitting around a birdie with some badminton rackets.

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Tonight (Monday) we went with some friends to the park to sit on a tarp with some snacks, and enjoy the blossoms. One interesting thing is that people take off their shoes when they sit on the tarp. So, not wanting to make a faux pas, I removed my shoes and left them at the side of the tarp. When I went to put them back on, there was a makeup brush in one. I have no idea how it got in there, or who it belonged to. Definitely an odd surprise.

It got dark around 6:00pm, and not long after they lit lanterns that had been strung through the trees. As we were leaving things were just getting started, as hordes of businessmen and women made their way over to the park after a long day at work.

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At a lot of the bigger hanami places, they set up little stalls called 屋台 (yadai), which sell food, drinks, and sometimes other things like toys or masks. I got a chocolate covered banana, because really, who can say no to that?

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We also brought our own drinks, and some doughnuts! Since it’s Easter, the Krispy Kreme here has special, limited time Easter themed doughnuts. We couldn’t resist trying the chick! It’s so cute that you almost feel bad eating it, but it was delicious. Inside is a caramel filling, and though I don’t really like caramel, this had a more toffy-like taste, and suited the doughnut well.

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Whenever you have large groups of people, there are always some interesting things that you spot. First up is a man who was walking his cat with a harness and a leash. There’s an older lady who lives near me that does that in our neighbourhood, but to see someone walk through a crowded park with their cat beside them was definitely interesting. In the second photo you can see a group of people dressed up as fish. This fish can be seen at the top of Nagoya Castle, and is therefore an icon here.

Last but not least is the group of businessmen who had set up camp beside us. When we first arrived, there were only two guys there getting things ready, and all they started with was a blue tarp and some boxes. We watched as they slowly made tables, seats, and even a special “bag section” with a wall to protect people’s bags from rolling off the tarp and onto the group. They brought a heater, and ordered a whole bunch of pizzas.

Hanami is serious business.

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It was a great weekend filled with beautiful weather and wonderful cherry blossoms! We tried to take a group photo, but Rhea wasn’t really looking at the camera…

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If you want to know more about cherry blossoms and hanami, check out this post.

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