Like falling snowflakes

Cherry blossoms bloom, the petals fall, and then the dust of the petals enriches the soil around the cherry trees. Cherry blossoms can bloom beautifully again. Life continues year by year. (March 23, 1691. Translation of original haiku by Matsuo Bashō)

When we visited Goryokaku Park in Hakodate with the cherry blossoms in full bloom, I was  wowed by the scale and beauty of the flowers.  I thought it couldn’t get any better.  I was wrong.

The next day, we made our way to another popular cherry blossom spot in Hokkaido – Matsumae Park.

Matsumae Park surrounds the Matsumae Castle – the only full castle built in Hokkaido. Although Matsumae Castle survived World War II, it was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1949 and reconstructed.  We had visited the interior of the castle during our last trip a few years ago, and it was a little bit of a yawn.  This time round, we headed straight for the park, right into 10,000 cherry blossom trees. Woohoo!

With 250 varieties of cherry blossom trees in the park, it’s no wonder that the hanami season at Matsumae lasts an entire month.  Different varieties bloom at different times, and with a palette of pinks, whites and green, it made for an interesting and gorgeous landscape.

While the mood at Goryokaku Park was festive with families and picnic mats spread out under the trees, the scene at Matsumae was different.  It was tranquil and serene.  People were strolling through the park, quietly taking in the delicate beauty of the flowers.

According to Buddhist tradition, the breathtaking but brief beauty of the cherry blossoms symbolizes the transient nature of life.  As many of the trees in Matsumae Park had reached full bloom a  week earlier, pretty pink petals carpeted the paths.  And as I watched as petals fluttered in the gentle breeze like falling snowflakes, I was humbly reminded that life is short, and we need to savour every moment.

Mapcode: 862 058 229

Itinerary (Day 3): Hakodate Morning Market — Matsumae Park — Hakodate Park — Red Brick Warehouses (Kanemori Warehouse)

26 thoughts on “Like falling snowflakes”

  1. I missed them when I went to Washington D.C. for the 100 Anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival so I am very glad to see your beautiful pictures.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    1. What a pity 😦 I was worried we had missed them too as the trees in Japan reached full bloom within hours instead of days due to the warm weather this year. I’m glad I get to share the pictures with you, and I hope you catch them next year! 🙂

  2. Visiting such a beautiful place really does make you feel good, makes you feel so fortunate and thankful.
    You should be. I would love to be in your position. I see these cherry blossoms pictures in airplane magazine and daydream of being there and seeing it,

    1. It certainly does! Cherry blossoms were always on my bucket list, and I was so glad I was able to catch them this year. Now I’m day dreaming of heading over to your side of the world but until I find the time … I’ll have to enjoy them through your blog 🙂

  3. Cherry Blossoms are my favorites. Always love watching these cheerful flowers, and I wish to live in a place like the one you have shown.

    Beautiful, beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. A pure delight! 🙂

    1. Me too! Living in a city is fun but I long to live in a place like Hokkaido where there are open fields, and cherry blossoms in spring. Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂

  4. What wonderful images. I have been fascinated by cherry blossoms for years, but did not know that there were so many varieties. Thanks to your photos, I’m gonna have to add a few more names to my list of places to visit. 🙂

    1. Thanks! 😀 I completely fell in love with cherry blossoms during my trip, and was amazed by the large variety. Definitely worth the trip! Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!

  5. Chanced upon your blog while researching about Matsumae. Amazing photos! Did u visit in June? Cos I’ll be heading there in May 2014, wondering if I can catch the pretty blossoms…

    1. Thanks Ling! We visited in the second week of May and were quite lucky to catch them in about 3 locations. Check out the cherry blossom forecasts and I hope you get to see them! 🙂

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