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 Kenkõ,
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.