Cherry blossom season is one of those things I never get tired of. Matsumoto Castle is another. When the two collide in one short-lived week it’s a miracle I manage to remember that I have a job and a family.
This year, though, was different.
While there seems to be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, tourism is still largely on hold. The resulting absence of the typical tripod-toting hoi polloi has been admittedly pleasant.
But there’s more. Occurring right along with this once-in-a-century plague is an even rarer event.
The Imperial court in Kyoto began keeping records of the cherry blossom season back in the year 812. Specifically, each spring officials would note the day on which the flowers in the ancient capital reached their peak. This year the sakura were in full bloom on March 26th, the earliest date in over 1,200 years.
Here in the higher altitudes the blossoms open a bit later, but just like the rest of Japan this year, Matsumoto saw an early cherry blossom season – so early in fact that I got to enjoy them while my kids were still on spring break and I was still in the midst of the break from work I gave myself (one of the many perks of self-employment).
The only challenge, then, was finding new angles from which to view and appreciate the blossoms.
The mountains too, still capped in the whites of winter, add to the photogenic nature of the season.
If you somehow find yourself saturated with castle-backed views of the cherry blossoms, no problem. Matsumoto offers plenty of places to appreciate the beauty of this short-lived time of year.
One day, perhaps very soon, we will all make it out of this pandemic tunnel, and you’ll be able to come to Japan and Matsumoto. Problem is, so will the rest of the world.
But come over anyway. There are plenty of delicious views to go around.