What brings me back to Japan again? The colorful four seasons, the bountiful Japanese cuisines, the well preserved temples and shrines that existed for centuries, and the traditional cultures that never fades away. This time, I will experience the peak seasons of the year – spring for sakura or cherry blossom.
First trip: Narita city. When I researched about this city, I found out about Narita-san (成田山 "Narita mountain") where the Shinsho-ji Temple is located. Next day, I walked down to explore. Usually it takes about 15-20 minutes by walk from Keisei Narita station. Along the way, there are various shops and restaurants for tourists and locals.
Honestly, it took me more than 20 minutes as I checked the shops. As I reached down to Narita-san, there were stairs that leads to the Shinsho-ji Temple. There are sakura trees around the park and as the wind gently blows, the petals “snowed” everywhere and I was enchanted.
Second trip: Nikko, Kinugawa. I took the Tobu Railway from the main station located in Asakusa and the train ride took a total of two hours heading to Kinugawa Onsen station. Despite of the long hours of train ride, you will enjoy the scenic view of the sakura trees and the beautiful mountain areas. When I finally reached the station, I had a chance to roam around and spotted sakura trees.
Next day, I went to the cultural theme park called Edo Wonderland (Nikko Edomura). This place will transport you back to Edo period where you will be greeted by the locals while samurais and ninjas roam around. To make it more fun, you can rent and choose to wear a kimono as a local or as a princess, a samurai and many more. I chose to be the samurai’s daughter and had a lot of fun walking around the village and being acknowledged by the people around. There are ninja shows, the Oiran parade, and other shows that you can watch although they are all spoken in Japanese.
But not to worry, you will still appreciate the whole show by watching the ninjas in action and the beautiful Oiran performing on stage.
Last stop: Asakusa. When it comes to Asakusa, we all thought of the famous red Kaminarimon Gate where the Sensoji Temple is located. This time, I was lucky enough to watch the Yabusame that was held in Sumida Park. Yabusame is a traditional Japanese archery and it has existed for centuries up to now. Watching Yabusame adds the highlight to my adventure. Many photographers and media groups came and a lot of tourists were eager to squeeze into the crowd just to watch. The whole ceremony took around three hours long but I can say that it’s worth the time and experience.
And this ends my Sakura adventure and I will never forget that I had a chance to become the samurai’s daughter for a day! If you have the chance to visit Japan again during this season, do visit these places and you will have fun!
Name: Miyako Paltu-ob
Current section: JAL Mileage Bank Coordinator/Senior Passenger Sales, Manila Office
Address: 1 Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0023, Japan
Telephone: +81 476-22-2111
Website: Narita-san (成田山)