Taking a Japanese bus tour to the Izu peninsula several hours south of Tokyo during the last weekend of February turned out to be a fantastic experience. After crossing a mountain and descending into the valley of Kawazu, we were greeted by a river blanketed by early blooming cherry blossoms. The passengers on the bus let out a collective sigh. For them the sakura are much more than pretty pink blossoms.
After the Rising Sun, which can be thought to represent Japan’s unity, and Mt. Fuji, which in a way symbolizes the majesty of Japan, the Sakura can be viewed as the very soul of the Japanese. This rebirth of life and beauty allows for a new beginning each year. It coincides with young college graduates entering the work force and children beginning their education. Seeing the beauty of these early blossoms and the joy it brought to the passengers was a true joy.
We also stopped for some strawberry picking and to see the illumination village of Tokiuosuwika. That part was… 🙂