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My Cherry Blossom Viewings in 2022

Since I had hay fever more than 30 years ago, spring has been no longer my favorite season.
In addition, I don’t feel like going out positively because the COVID-19 pandemic has not converged yet.

Nevertheless, the desire to see cherry blossoms could not be suppressed, and I visited the three famous spots in late March and mid-April that would avoid crowds as much as possible.

They are all located in adjacent prefectures in central Japan, and I arrived there from the bus terminal in Shinjuku, Tokyo, in less than four hours by express bus.

  1. Kuon-ji Temple in Minobu Town, Yamanashi Prefecture
    is the head temple of the Nichiren sect, one of the denominations of Japanese Buddhism, but it’s also famous for weeping cherry blossoms.
    Each step of the 287 steps of Bodaitei, which leads from the main gate to the main hall, is very high.
    Bodaitei is completely different from a normal staircase, and it looks like a big wall is waiting for you. It’s said to be straight, reflecting the temperament of Nichiren, the founder of the sect, and it means a staircase leading to the world of enlightenment.The weeping cherry blossoms that I saw after climbing Bodaitei were so beautiful that they were said to be the best in Japan.
  2. Takato Castle Ruins Park in Ina City, Nagano Prefecture
    is known as the “No.1 cherry blossom viewing spot in the world”, but when I visited it, it began to fall.The Japanese have loved the cherry blossoms, which are a symbol of limited life.
    It’s often said that cherry blossoms are beautiful because they scatter in a few days, and our life is beautiful because we die. However, frankly speaking, I want to visit the park in full bloom again.I could enjoy the illuminated cherry blossoms there, but I gave up doing so, taking a bus and trains to the hotel for about 3 hours.
  3. The Takashima Castle Ruins in Suwa City
    is also known as a cherry blossom viewing spot in Nagano Prefecture.
    If I had not move early, I might not have been able to afford to enjoy the cherry blossoms at night in full bloom.I visited there again the next morning and was able to enjoy the beauty different from the night.Suwa, coupled with a climate of mountains and the lake, was called “oriental Switzerland”.
  4. Suwa Taisha Shrine
    consists of four shrines, located in different places around Lake Suwa, and is a very prestigious shrine with long history.
    The deity of the shrine is Mt. Moriya in Suwa, but there is also a mountain of the same name “Moriah” that appears in the Old Testament in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.At Suwa Shrine, there is a festival, which sacrifices deer instead of a boy. This is very similar to the Old Testament story of Abraham offering a sheep in place of his son Isaac.
    Therefore, I heard that the Israeli Ambassador to Japan visits Suwa City first after his assignment.Do you believe in the legend that Jews moved to ancient Japan and came to the land of Suwa?
    Seems so interesting!!
    I spent a day cycling along the lake and visiting the four shrines.

Really looking forward to the day when I can take you to see cherry blossoms in my country.

YUKI Takano, a member of iTWS japan LLP
e-mail: yuki.takano@i3ws.co.jp

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