Thursday, May 8, 2014

Traveling with Cherry Blossoms


It could be another week before the buds on our apple tree explode; spring blossoms come late in Minneapolis.

Back in March, I hiked in southern Japan for a day with Cecilia, a twenty-something from Sweden. She was traveling with the cherry blossoms, through Japan, from south to north. She would end up on Hokkaido in late April when the blossoms would finally be coming out in that northernmost of Japan's main islands.

Beyond that, she was living in the moment: no onward ticket from Japan, no concern her meager funding from an arts organization might run out.


It is a good plan to travel from south to north in the spring, not just for the blossoms, but to give the weather a chance to moderate.

Blossoms in the rain
Last year I started in March at the very south of Kyushu where it was warm and the blossoms were at their peak. I continued north for three weeks until I reached Otaru, just north of Sapporo, Hokkaido. Snow was lying in piles, the trees were bare.

This year I followed a similar plan, but spent more time in the south, and my northernmost point was Sado Island (near Niigata, Honshu). I hiked up to Sado Island's snow line, but in the valley it was warm, and trees were blossoming.

Blossoms against castle wall
Right now, Cecilia should be in Hokkaido, surrounded by blossoms. It's peak cherry blossom time in Sapporo, almost two months later than the blossoms we saw in the South, near Kagoshima.

I'm enjoying a long blossom season.

Blossoms at sunset

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