Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report

Today's blue skies were definitely welcomed after yesterday's rain, and the warm weather brought everyone out to enjoy the blossoms and fine spring weather. As the temperatures have been quite warm over the past few days, many cities have reached full bloom faster than normal and today, Fukushima in the Tohoku Region reported the opening of its first blossoms (kaika), one week earlier than average.

It has been four days since Tokyo reached full bloom, and Scott went to check out the cherry blossoms at the various popular hanami spots in the city today. You can read his report here. While Scott was in Tokyo, I headed to Nara, the country's old capital, to check out the blossoms, which reached full bloom two days ago.

The blossoms that I saw in Nara today were indeed at their peak and look set to remain so for at least till the end of this week. However, the weather does not look too promising for those who want to have cherry blossom viewing (hanami) parties, as it is forecast to be cloudy and possibly rainy for the next five days.

Nara Park
April 2, 2015 - full bloom

My first stop for today was Nara Park where many of the city's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Monuments of Ancient Nara, can be found. I went around the large and spacious park admiring the cherry blossoms at full bloom, and also saw lots of people picnicking and kids playing.

At the eastern end of Nara Park is the 342 meter tall Mount Wakakusa which I climbed to have a bird's eye view of the city below. There is an admission fee of 150 yen to access the walking path to the top, and the mountain can be climbed in about 15 to 20 minutes. The cherry blossoms at the top of the mountain had petals falling freely whenever there was a slight breeze, but there were still enough blossoms on the trees that they still looked full and attractive.

Over at Kofukuji Temple, the construction of the Central Golden Hall is still ongoing and set to be finished by October 2018, but that does not affect the viewing of the other buildings on the temple grounds. At Himuro Shrine, the weeping cherry trees have started losing their petals and green leaves have also started to show, signaling the move towards the end of the season.

The very spacious lawns in Nara Park
Close up of the blossoms
Going up the steps at Mount Wakasayama
View of Nara Park from the top of the mountain
Picnicking and appreciating the flowers
The city looks really small from here
So many things happening in this picture
Weeping cherry tree at Himuro Shrine
Petals are falling and green leaves showing
These deer near Kofukuji Temple didn't stop bowing
Visitors taking in the cherry blossoms at full bloom
Relaxing near Kofukuji Temple

Horyuji
April 2, 2015 - full bloom

My last destination for today was Horyuji Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nara Prefecture. While the cherry trees here are not the main feature here, the ones I saw today were at full bloom and provided a subtle, quiet beauty alongside the centuries old buildings. The blossoms here should remain at their best for another week or so before the petals start falling.

Man trying to get the blossoms and buildings in the same shot
Close up of the blossoms at Horyuji Temple
Flowers against the Great Lecture Hall
Cherry blossoms and the five-storied pagoda
Line of cherry trees
Ended the day with a delicious bowl of anmitsu, a type of Japanese dessert

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List of Posts:
2019/03/20 - Moominvalley Park opens near Tokyo
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report