“This weekend is the best time to see the cherry blossoms,” mentioned the woman I work with. It might be true but I wasn’t planning to have my hanami on said weekend because I had a dental appointment. Come Saturday, I was patiently waiting for my teeth to be examined when the dentist assistant engaged me in a chitchat. “Today is the best time to see the cherry blossoms,” she said cheerfully. Two Japanese women randomly telling me that that Saturday was the perfect time to see the cherry blossoms made me decide to finally go to Yamizakigawa River: the best viewing spot in Aichi prefecture.
It was the first weekend of April. Most people probably scheduled their hanami on that day if I base it on the number of people around. It was rainy the day prior to that and the days after which made it the perfect day. It was a sunny spring day so I didn’t have to wear my long coat. It was a comfortable long walk because the sun’s heat was not intense. This is my second time to live in Japan and also my second time to experience spring.
Since my arrival in August of last year, I started having a deep fascination with flowers. Cherry Blossom, being the most beautiful and beloved in this country, is always a must-see. The sight of just one or two trees is not enough for ne anymore as I always spot them on my way to work every week. Thus, I longed to see a hundred of them in a park or lining a river. Yamazakigawa is a perfect choice and a recommended spot in most of my online searches.
I reached the subway station but since it’s still a 10-minute walk, my problem started to arise. I didn’t know which way to go so I just followed the direction where most people went. Unfortunately, almost ten minutes had passed but there was still no sign of cherry blossoms. That was when I finally decided to use google map to bring me to Nagoya Women’s University which is near the river. When I reached Nagoya University, I saw many people going in one direction so I just started following them. Lines of cherry blossoms can also be found along the road. By the time I saw a bridge, I knew that I found the Yamazakigawa River.
I went to Yamazakigawa with the intention of photographing only the beauty of the place. When I include myself into the picture, I usually become a little stressed because I tend to focus on getting a good angle for my portrait. But on that rare day, my mind was just on the cherry blossoms. I walked the long kilometer of the riverside. The place was packed with people. It amuses me how the Japanese celebrate hanami. I saw people with their family, friends, and partners eating lunch or having snacks under the cherry blossom trees. Because it was too crowded, I think some of them didn’t mind at all even if they weren’t able to set-up a plastic blanket on the ground for their hanami. Some brought a cooler and even had wine. Some had bento boxes which were probably bought from a convenience store on their way to the river. There were also two or three small vans selling street food. Although there weren’t a lot, the restaurants near the area were also full.
I was glad I did go on that particular day. Thanks to the two Japanese women who unconsciously prodded me. The cherry blossoms were at their best. The rain partnered with the strong wind of the succeeding days would have hastened the falling of the petals. Ymazakigawa River, undeniably, had the most number of cherry blossom trees that I’ve seen in my region so far.