Monday, April 13, 2009

Sakura in Kamakura

Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossoms. Did you know that the Japanese gave the cherry tree to the United States back in 1912? I didn't! Well, if I did know I've forgotten up until Julie and I were talking about it. In 1965, 3800 more trees were given and accepted by Lady Bird Johnson. Last week and the week before were the two weeks when they peaked, and we were out and about taking it all in. We arrived at this time last year, the peak of sakura season, so this year I knew where I wanted to go to see them. Bob's been working later hours than usual and on weekends too, so anything we wanted to see had to be done without him.

The Japanese are very serious and proud of the sakura; last year they even had Kit Kat Sakura! Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public
track the sakura zensen (cherry-blossom front) as it moves northward. From what I read it begins in Okinawa in January and reaches Kyoto and eventually Tokyo at the end of March or the beginning of April.

Last Friday evening we went with Julie and her family to Kamakura. It's only two stops away by train and takes about 15 minutes to get there. Specifically
Dankazura and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Dankazura is a walkway that leads almost from Kamakura Station down to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. I went to these places on New Year's here if you want to see more pictures and to learn about how the Japanese traditionally ring in the new year.

On Tuesday the girls and I went to Hase Temple (Hasedera) and Daibutsu/Great Buddha of Kamakura. We walked around, took some pictures and enjoyed the afternoon. The weather was beautiful and we were happy to take advantage of it. Below are pictures of a garden at Hase Temple and Daibutsu. I'm still experimenting with the panoramic stitching thing. Click the pictures to enlarge them.

I've added the pictures from both days to a Shutterfly album, click here if you want to see them.


Inkspots said...

Great shots! It sure was beautiful there.

Alisa said...

I love your photos! VERY pretty!
Your 2 girls are just doll's!
During Sakura Bloom... it was just so beautiful EVERYWHERE!!
And, now that they are falling... i feel like my 'high' is falling too. We had such a fun time going around exploring all the Hanami Spots.
Again, Beautiful photos!

ablykins said...

I miss Kamakura so much and especially during sakura season! Thanks for posting such gorgeous photos!

newsjunkie said...

I knew that! (I guess that's what happens when you volunteer at the DC Cherry Blossom Festival for 3 years in a row... it would be pretty bad if I didn't know that.) But did you know that after WWII, when many of the trees were destroyed in Japan, we gave a bunch of cherry blossom trees back to Japan? And the actual first gift of trees was made in 1910, but they were mainly older trees and many were diseased so they had to be destroyed. There is one grouping left that is believed to be from the 1910 gift.

Great pictures!