Well, it all happened rather last minute, but I am currently in Japan! I had been looking for a while at getting out here on a cherry blossom spotting trip. I should have read these 10 Rookie Mistakes to avoid earlier – leaving it until the last minute isn’t all that easy. Having kept an eye on forecasts and things to make sure that I went at the right time for the blossom before booking anything meant that nearly the whole of Japan was full on the dates I wanted to go. The only option at one point looked like the Ritz in Osaka for £1,000 a night…so, er….not an option then.
However, I was lucky enough to find space in a hotel in Nikkō, to the north of Tokyo last week and here I am.
Nikkō is really interesting. Home to a complex of Buddhist and Shinto shrines, it’s in the foothills of the mountains and the forested slopes remind me so much of scenes from anime films like My Neighbour Tortoro and Wolf Children. It’s breathtaking and very inspiring.
The cherry blossom is in full bloom in Tokyo at the moment (it will be a bit later here in Nikkō), and I got the train in yesterday to explore. There were signalling problems which meant this was much more of an epic mission than it should have been – 4 hours journey in and 5 hours back, rather than the 2ish it normally is. Nevertheless, it was awesome and exciting and I can’t wait to go on the hunt for more sakura while I’m here.
I started in Ueno park, which was SO crowded! It was rather wonderful though to see so many people just out to look at beautiful trees… Then I headed to the Sensō-ji temple at Asakusa, which was much quieter, and finished up at the river at Sumida Park with a view of the trees and the super tall Tokyo Skytree building opposite (appropriately illuminated in pretty pink).
The effects of jetlag are proving rather useful for creativity… It feels a bit like I’m having a wonderful dream…and am doodling lots of ideas and scenes as I go…