Sakura in the Fog

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One of the best things about living in Japan is being able to experience Hanami 花見 or cherry blossom viewing. Newspapers print when and where the sakura will be in full bloom. It’s important to plan ahead especially if you want to travel, and many local venues with fill up quickly with viewing parties if the weather is good.

This year in Karatsu spring was quite chilly and the blooming was delayed. Full bloom or mankai 満開 lasts about a week. This year full bloom was pushed back to the first full week of April.

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This year I wanted to check out the park and observatory on top of Kagamiyama or Mt. Kagami. I had been there a few months before to finally check it out. Since this post is about Sakura and I will save it for another post. Anyways when I was there I realized that many of the trees surrounding the fields and parks were Sakura trees. Thus, I decided that this year’s Karatsu ALT Hanami would be at Kagamiyama.

This year we were plagued with cold weather and rain. Luckily the rain was light and most of the blossoms stayed on the trees for the weekend. On the Saturday of the party, the morning was free of rain and actually had a bit of sun. Excited that the weather had turned in our favor we packed up our cars and took the winding drive up the mountain. I regret not having pictures of the drive up. The sakura trees were big, beautiful and in full bloom creating a pink tunnel around the road.

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By the end of the party, we couldn’t see this bridge!

Once at the top, we parked and started to unload. Many people were still skeptical of the weather so there was plenty of space to park and find a perfect viewing spot. But we hadn’t realized that while the weather below the mountain was partially clear and sunny, on top of the mountain the fog was still hanging around.

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A stone table all to ourselves

 

I didn’t mind the fog. It made the park mysterious and oddly beautiful. We nabbed a viewing spot near a stone table with a past peak tree hanging overhead that dropped pink blossom onto our picnic. In an odd way, it was sort of perfect.

 

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Look at al those cherry blossoms falling!

 

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Remember to take your shoes off!
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Hanami commenced and the snack-age begins.

We got about 2 hours of good cherry blossom viewing, snacking, drinking (what’s hanami without alcohol?), and party games, before the fog thickened and started to rain. While it was a short hanami it was fun and special. It’s not often you get to see sakura bloom in the fog.

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6 thoughts on “Sakura in the Fog

  1. It’s a rare experience to do Hanami in the fog – mysterious is definitely the right word to use! Loved the photos, they captured the atmosphere well!

  2. What lovely and mysteriously beautiful images – so wish I could have been there to experience it, too!
    I’m still toying with the idea of coming to visit you at the end of July/ beginning of August! Yes, I know, way too late for any Cherry Blossom viewing! Will you be in Karatsu City between July 30 and about August 7th? I need to finalize my summer travel plans – definitely will be going to Alaska for a few days and from there an ” easy hop across the big pond” to Japan!

    1. I would love for you to visit! My door is open. Unfortunately, that is the beginning of the JET busy season. The new JETs are arriving and Karatsu DRs (ie me) are hosting the annual welcome beach party on the weekend. I will have some free time on weekday afternoons and that first weekend is open (for now). Shoot me an email with your plans/ideas and we’ll work something out. I really want to show you around!

      1. Don’t have any details worked out yet. Just starting to put things in place for the Alaska segment of my summer travels. One of Myk’s sister’s and her husband are able to travel with me for a few days, with the earliest departure date to go to Juneau of July 26. They can only be gone from jobs until July 30.
        So I’m considering whether I could see a bit more of Alaska on my own and then possibly fly to Tokyo. Maybe do an “excursion” to Mt. Fuji, then next day travel on to Hiroshima for a day or so, and then connect with you in Karatsu. Before I get a travel agent involved, I wanted to see if this could work with your busy schedule.
        So what dates would be best for a visit from me? And I can certainly help out with any of those last minute things that always seem to pop up just before a big event!
        Hoping I can make this happen – I’ve never done anything like this on my own in my entire life!!! And I just turned 71 at the beginning of this month!

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