Before Cherry Blossom

In the weeks leading to sakura week, the plum trees start blooming, the weather changes, it is still chilly but the light is brighter and the sky blue, it is a wonderful and exciting couple of weeks and everyone is waiting for cherry blossom

 

 

This year, during that period, we also had the Tokyo Marathon, so well organised, spotless, lines of water bottles waiting, volunteers along the 43km, really impressive and a nice and friendly atmosphere. If you are in Tokyo at that time, have a look, it is very peaceful and friendly, I recommend it

Cherry Blossom

in 2018, Cherry blossom came to Tokyo one week ahead of normal. it all started on March 25th, the week end was a peak in visitors to parks

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People deploy blankets and drink sake, picnic under the trees to enjoy the moment. it is a celebration of spring, the nice weather back

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We were very lucky as it did not rain since the blossom came out, so Tokyo people enjoyed 2 full week ends of joy.

Everywhere, you can see cherry trees of all sorts and I wandered in Shiba park, Imperial park where a specific section opens to public from 10h00 to 15h30 only during this period. Everywhere was absolutely packed. I gave up the idea of going to Ueno as the perspective of the crowd put me off. I also went to Hanzomon to enjoy the trees at the back of the imperial park.

I accidentally found a great place in Midtown Roppongi where the night lights were just beautiful.

Midweek, I dared going to Nakameguro and watch the riverside, this is a chore, totally overwhelmed by people, a lot of “chiringuitos” selling sparkling wine with strawberry or cherry sake all along, it is very beautiful but you need to be patient, and walk at (slow) pace with the crowd

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Nara #1

Nara remains so far my favourite spot to visit, it has a special atmosphere, it feels like a small village although it is a real city with 365.000 people. It used to be the capital of Japan

What is special about it is you can walk around easily, it has a truly Japan way of life flavour, not overloaded with tourists (yet) like Kyoto can be, all sites can be visited in one day walking

It is the city for deers, they wander all around, but watch out, they remain wild animals and can bite if you are too sticky!

3000 lanterns display in the park a peaceful spirit, I spent a day again in January, it was so special as many families were coming to pray. again, I loved it

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Okinawa #4

When Okinawa became Japanese in full again, in 1974, it was the economic boom, airlines were growing fast, so as mentioned in a previous post, ANA and JAL picked up great locations and built up hotels on the island, launching the boom of domestic tourism to the islands.

I stayed at the ANA InterContinental on Manza Beach, wonderful location, 31 ha of activities, gardens, swimming pools, a private beach, boats, sailing, it is a unique resort.

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Tokyo lights

One thing to note is that all fairs are an opportunity in Japan. Mother’s day, baseball, Halloween, Christmas, New Year, you name it, anything works!

IN december, near Yoyogi park, adjoining the NHK buildings, there was this amazing blue alley, every day at 17h00, it would switch on along the 750m that lead up to Shibuya.

They used to have this in Meguro but moved it there 3 years ago. it is a fairy tale when all lightens, I was very impressed. If you are in town in December, dont miss out, it is worth the moment, try to be there at 16h50 to see the launch any evening of the week. You may also enjoy it in 6 others cities across the country – Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Hiroshima, Osaka and Fukuoka.

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Christmas Shopping

Christmas is not a bank holiday here but still a nice opportunity to celebrate and shop. People shop and celebrate just about anything here!!

Takashimaya, large luxury shop, located in Nihombashi is a fabulous building in itself, great architecture to admire and the traditional window shopping

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But of course the must is Ginza with the famous brands, and Mitsukoshi, this year the avenue has Christmas trees all along, impressive