Tuesday 15 April 2014

The pink and the white

When we first arrived in Kyoto, I was worried that we had come too soon.
The cherry trees were showing scant sign of flowering
and the weather was cold. 
I could have taken comfort from the words of Yoshida Kenk├Á,
a  12th century Buddhist monk who asked,

Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom,
the moon only when it is cloudless?
Branches about to blossom or a garden strewn with faded flowers
are worthier of our admiration.

Unfortunately I do not possess the philosophical outlook
of a 12th century Buddhist monk
and 6000 miles is a long way to travel to see bare twigs.

The view from our ryokan window in Arashiyama.
That's a Sagano Scenic Railway train.
 It used to stop to have a look at us, 
while we had a look at them across the Hozugawa river.

In the event, we saw the sakura in all its transiently beautiful stages
from first opening - 

The Philosopher's Path, a walk along a canal lined
by hundreds of cherry trees.

Nijo castle garden.

Kodaiji  Zen Temple and raked gravel rock garden. 

- to hanaikada, the word used to describe
cherry blossom petals floating on the water's surface like a raft.

Shinjuku Park, Tokyo.


  1. I am so pleased to see your lovely photos as I missed the sakura on my one and only visit to Japan. It is absolutely stunning!

  2. Wow - what an amazing sight.

  3. I am (more or less) speechless. And that doesn't happen very often.

  4. I think we should all club together and send you off to Japan every spring. Your photos are stunning, an insight into the magic of sakura. Thank you for sharing them.

  5. Sublime. How glad I am that you are such a fine photographer and so generous with these views.


  6. How absolutely, utterly, almost heartbreakingly beautiful it all is!

  7. So beautiful. You are so lucky to have seen this. I remember the scene with the Cherry blossom from The Geisha Girl film.
    Your photographs are stunning.

  8. I do love the white blossoms. Our cherry blossoms are always pink over here.

  9. Love your sense of humour.
    In the end it all worked out for you and you have a treasure of photographs. I loved seeing them, thank you.