While in Japan in late March/early April 2018, we got lucky. We had tried our best to schedule our trip around the cherry blossom peak bloom, but we knew we could be disappointed: Sometimes the sakura trees bloom early or late, and the entire cycle lasts two weeks or less, depending on the weather.
To our delight, our timing was perfect. The cherry blossoms came a few days earlier than in years past, allowing us to witness them bud and blossom. On our last day, we watched some of the first petals fall.
Ranging in shades from white to pink, we saw the blossoms all over Tokyo, Kyoto in Osaka. They wowed us in well-known viewing spots – Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo, and Arashiyama and Kamogawa Ohashi Bridge in Kyoto, to name a few – and stopped us in our tracks when we encountered them by surprise. But it wasn’t until our last day in Japan, during a morning trip to Osaka Castle (Osakajo), that we really understood why the spring season is so special to the people of Japan.
The castle complex is stunning it and of itself. Originally completed in 1586, its main tower took three years and more than 100,000 workers to build. A reconstruction was completed in 1931, after centuries of destruction by enemies and lightning razed it to the ground. Today, it’s one of the most iconic and visited castles in all of Japan. Here are a few of our favorite photos from that mystical morning.