H is for 春

H is for haru, or the Japanese word for Spring. Sometimes, the winters in Japan feel unbearably long. In February, all of the traditional holidays surrounding the coming of spring happen, but the season doesn’t actually start feeling present until about April. Then, all of sudden, as quickly as the cherry blossoms burst (spring’s most famous feature), people are out on their blue picnic blankets, outdoor dining is resumed, and night entertainment on the Kamo returns.

There is a special sort of smell in the air around this time, and there is really no Spring Fever like Japan Spring Fever. People drink too much, flirt too much, eat too much, but no one cares –– after a grueling winter, everyone is eager to get outdoors and be active again. Spring is also the first typhoon season of the year, with the storm (or storms) hitting sometime in May. We always hope they’ll be late, because after that, the humidity starts, and then, the long, hot summer that makes us wish for the chill of winter all over again.

Spring is a tough time to live in Kyoto. While I really love the flowers, the sheer amount of people that suddenly bust out of the woodwork can be a bit overwhelming, and with tour buses and tour groups clogging streets they shouldn’t be on, sometimes I wonder how it is I make it home in one piece.

Still, it is a beautiful season… I love watching the blossoms float down the Kamo River on their way down from the mountains. It’s so peaceful.

Images hosted on Flickr. 

https://flic.kr/p/pNN6xn

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Sekizan Zen-in

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Takaragaike Picnic

Nijo-jo Plums

Nijo Illumination

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Kyoto 2015 005

65 thoughts on “H is for 春

    1. Every place has its quirks. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s been a stellar experience that will stay with me the rest of my life. 🙂

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  1. I really like your photos. I do love spring, and am enjoying it myself at the moment, not in Japan, where it must be amazingly beautiful.
    Have fun with the A to Z challenge!

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    1. I’m sure spring must be gorgeous where you are! As it is, this year our spring was only a couple of days, because a sudden cold front came through and knocked all the cherry blossoms off their boughs during a week of storms. And now it’s cold again. 😦

      Thanks for stopping by!

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      1. Oh that is definitely too bad 😦
        Here we had some cherry trees in full blossom in January in the snow (in the only week that we snow this winter).
        You are welcome, after all A to Z is all about discovering new blogs and interacting isn’t it?

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    1. Yes, definitely. Winter decided to make one more showing over here, though, and strangled the blossoms right after they’d opened! We’ve had nonstop rain, pretty much~ :/ Hopefully it clears up this weekend!

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  2. Lovely post and photos. I was just lucky enough to experience a Japanese spring last week (where I live there are no seasons!). It was wonderful!

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    1. Now, do you mean no seasons like California-has-no-seasons, or Vancouver-gray-all-year no seasons? That’d be a big difference in my mind, haha.

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        1. Yeah, I can understand that. At least you can enjoy the weather! My gf tells me my ‘Californian heart’ is going to do a lot of crying in Vancouver. XD

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    1. Dango! It’s made from mochi (rice flour), a slightly sweet, gluttonous sweet. The pink is strawberry, the green is tea flavored, and the white is plain. It’s a very common sweet here. 🙂

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        1. Ahh, no. That is wagashi, the traditional sweet that is famously made in Kyoto. They come in hundreds of shapes and colors and are very delicious.

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    1. I envy you your smoothie! It’ll be a couple of months until it’s warm enough to partake in those delicious drinks and not feel like a refrigerator afterward. 😉

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  3. Oh those cherry trees! We have two – and they are so transient with the blossoms, but we also have a weeping cherry that is just spectacular! I remember springs in Chicago – coming at the end of May – same thing – people just burst out of hibernation!

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    1. I think the weeping style are my favorite. Your garden must be stunning. And yeah, except everyone is not waiting again, due to a recent cold front (ICE on the cherry blossoms in Tokyo… super rare event.)

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    1. Frog eggs! There is a shrine that celebrates the eggs and the opening of the irises with a small festival. 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I love it. But this year it was so short! I saw photos yesterday from Tokyo where a sudden cold front had frozen the blossoms on the branch! In Kyoto, they only lasted 2-3 days this year. 😦

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    1. You are more than welcome, Margo. Thank you for stopping by. The hardest part was choosing the photos!

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  4. I lived for several years in a city that had crab apple trees everywhere, and I always imagined the blooming of the cherry trees in Japan as being like that: pale pink blossoms (and happy bees) as far as the eye can see.

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    1. Not so many bees, unfortunately. We have Japanese wasps instead, which are terrifying. The Oatmeal actually did a comic about them.

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    1. Haha. The strawberries were super fun. You pay about $15 to go strawberry ‘picking’ for an hour. Eat as many as you can. It’s a great deal, since most of the time a flat of six costs around $5!

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    1. I can handle them, but my gf is a full introvert and the tourists here (on average) are not very considerate of other people. It’s the crowded trains that get to me. Sooooo many people.

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    1. That’s a wonderful compliment, thank you! XD I had a really hard time picking them, as there are literally thousands to choose from!

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  5. I am so glad I do not have to fight with crowds of people all the time.

    Railroad square, here, was completely white a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing.

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    1. Luckily, it’s not all the time. Just in the height of spring and fall. Other parts of Japan aren’t so lucky.

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    1. I felt that way when I was sent to both Taipei and Korea. I thought I wouldn’t like them… but they each had their own charm, and I was glad to have visited. 🙂

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