This is my last year in Japan, and I planned to make the most of the Sakura this year. Last year, the season was rained short. This year it was 'sunned' short. It was so hot over the season that the blooms opened from tightly closed buds to full blooms within a day, in some places. After a week or so, the petals had all but fallen. All was left were the red empty stems before the green leaves would uncurl through.
My son had his Easter break over the two weeks, so we spent many days chasing blossoms and having picnics with friends.
We visited Mizuho Eco Park early in the blossom season. The hanging blossoms were in bloom, as were loads and loads of Magnolia trees. I love Magnolia flowers.
We visited the Hamura Festival before full bloom. Only about a quarter of the flowers were open. By the end of the week, it was fully bloomed.
The small stream down near Hino and Tachikawa area is fabulous for blooms. With a gorgeous grassy bank to picnic on one side of the stream, and a long row of blossoms down both side of the stream. Perfect for picnics, paddling and photos. This are gets very busy during the peak blossoms season. I was taking photos on the less busy, and significantly steeper bank when a Japanese youth spoke to me in perfect English about this location. He was from the area, but lived and worked in Rotarua, New Zealand. He came back during Sakura season. He said this location is known by locals as a great blossom location, but not masses of tourists and foreigners know about it. Most will go to the huge parks in downtown Tokyo.
These were all taken on Yokota Air Base. We have some lovely blossoms along our streets. Old trees, nearing their end, but producing such masses of beautiful blooms each year. The petals fell very quickly this year, which made for some fun and beautiful 'snow falling' family portrait photos. I did get some full moon photos with night time blossoms. I remember last year the blossoms being much pink in color. This year, they were very white. I think I prefer pink.
And, my favorite location. A small little walk way, not unlike a fairy tale land. I came here several times: in the morning, later afternoon and evening. All lighting was lovely. I don't mind dappled lighting, if there are no faces to keep in even light. We got there as the men were testing all the lanterns worked. My favorite memory of the Sakura season.