Hanami in Takayama 花見

As Spring continues to flourish, and the climate actually begins to warm up, throughout Japan, Sakura trees begin to bloom, and the landscape is colored with dashes of pink here and there. The Sakura trees were already in full bloom when I visited Nagasaki 4 weeks ago, and now that it's getting warm in Takayama, they've begun to bloom here, too.

Taking apart the word 花見, we have , or Hana, which means flower, and , or mi, which is watching, looking, or viewing. So 花見, or Hanami, literally translates as Flower Viewing, but refers more directly to observing, and enjoying Sakura trees as the reach full bloom.

Earlier this week was probably the peak of Sakura season, but it wasn't until yesterday that the weather was actually good enough to go outside and enjoy the beautiful trees with a bright sunlit sky.

The next few photos are from some of my elementary schools in Takayama. I took some photos during the lunch recess while all the students were running around.

They looked perfect last week, but they still look just as beautiful today. Though, they have started to lose their flowers. When the wind blew today, it was a snow storm of petals. I was still finding petals hidden in my clothing a couple hours after walking around.

臥龍桜 / がりゅうざくら

In the village of Miya, there stands a Sakura tree that is over 1100 years old.

According to Wikipedia, for the longest time it was referred to as 大幢寺の大桜 (だいどうじ だいさくら), or The Daijou Temple's Big Sakura Tree, but in 1931 the temple's priest renamed it to Garyuuzakura. You might remember from a previous post that , or ryuu, is Japanese for dragon. The kanji , or ga, means bending down, or bowing.

The priest renamed the tree Ga-ryuu-zakura because the expanding branches of the trees looked like a winding dragon. And with the tree being so old, many branches give the appearance of bowing. So I think the name Bowing Dragon Sakura makes sense. :)

Above is a beautiful tree from directly in front of the Miya station entrance.

Garyuuzakura is right next to the train station in Miya, which has plenty of parking. This week they're celebrating the sakura season. There were a few vendors around the area, and lots of people admiring the tree.

The Miya station is completely unmanned, and to get to Garyuuzakura, you must go through the station and come out the other side.

宮川緑地 / みやがわりょくち

Near where I live in Takayama is a park called Miyagawa Ryukuchi. Miyagawa is the main river in Takayama, and flows next to this park. And Ryukuchi in Japanese kind of means park. The direct translation is basically a green area of land. That sounds like a park to me. It's just an open space surrounded by lines of Sakura trees.

I don't think it particularly photographs well, but it's a nice relaxing walk. :) Plus! I ran into one of my formal students while taking photos here.

桜野公園 / さくらの こうえん

On the east end of Kokufu, just north / northeast of Takayama, there's a park called Sakurano Park.

It's a beautiful forest of Sakura trees, and perfect for a family or group of friends to gather together and have a picnic. When I visited many groups of people were already there, including some students that easily identified me.

The park has a restaurant, and a food vendor, too. So, even if you forgot to bring a meal to enjoy under the Sakura trees, you can buy one and relax.

I arrived right as the sun was setting. Once dusk turns to night, the paper lanterns and other lights are turned on, and it turns the forest into a beautiful wonderland of nature.

Again, thank god for the perfect weather we had yesterday and today. The sun brilliantly lit up the Sakura trees, and made everything look spectacular.

Even though the Sakura trees in Takayama bloom a bit later than the rest of Japan, there are still some more remote areas in these mountains where they still have yet to bloom. Sakura season lasts quite a while up here in the mountains. :)


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