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Cherry Blossom Season in Okinawa

The cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) open on the island of Okinawa in January, each year.

Michael Lynch, an American photographer, travel writer and long time resident of Okinawa shares some of his images, taken over the years, to demonstrate the sights you may see during sakura season in the southernmost prefecture of Japan.

 

Meijiro in blossoms

 

The Japanese White Eye (Mejiro) are attracted to the cherry blossoms and, it is one of the few times, a year, these skittish birds will hold still long enough to pose for a photo.

Cherry Blossoms on Mt. Nago

 

It has been said, it takes a cold snap of weather, to start this breed of flower budding. To the local population, it is a sure sign of spring. The cherry blossoms, hang, facing downwards, like pink bells.

Unlike the sakura, seen in mainland Japan, these cherry trees originated in southern China and Taiwan.

Cherry Blossoms on Mt. Yaedake

 

Mt. Yaedake, on the Motobu Peninsula, is where the cherry blossoms, normally bloom first.

School Fieldtrip Up Mt.Yaedake Early February

 

Local school children may be seen visiting on field trips, along with their families and teachers.

Photographers on Mt. Yaedake

 

Photographers, of all skill levels may be seen, chasing the sakura, as this is a sign, winter will soon end.

Parking Area Halfway Up Mt. Yaedake

 

Tour buses take the elderly, up the mountains to pose among the blossoms.

Scenery Above Nago City

 

The brilliant shades of pink flowers, seem to light-up the hills and, are a sure sign of more temperate climate in the days ahead.

The beauty of Mt Nago

 

Nago Mountain, is the next location, cherry blossoms start to sprout. It may appear, to be spring, with art students, sketching the scenery but, this photo was taken on the second day of February!

Stone Lanterns Line Stairs Going Up Mt. Nago

 

Shrines and temples are popular places to visit during cherry blossom season and, many locations celebrate with festivals, lasting, into the night.

Single Cherry Tree at Sacred Site Outside Nago City Limits

 

But, you can also go off the beaten paths and, find a single cherry tree in bloom, next to a small sacred site.

Average Temperatures During January and February

The temperatures on Okinawa during cherry blossom season range from 16-19 degrees Celsius.
Most people wear or, carry a light jacket, as it can seem chilly at higher elevations.
For planning purposes, excellent, down-loadable PDF files are available at Japan National Tourist Organization, under Okinawa, Practical Travel Guide – 709.
Or, e-brochure downloads on the Visit Okinawa official website.

When the temperature in Australia seems unbearable, think about visiting Okinawa during Cherry Blossom Season. You won’t be disappointed.

All images by Michael Lynch. All rights reserved.

Michael Lynch has more images on Okinawa on his website.

 

About Travellers Blog

Travellers Blog entries are submitted by travellers communicating their travel experiences in Japan and are published ‘as is’. Opinions written do not necessarily reflect those of JNTO. If you wish to submit a blog, please submit an enquiry through the contact us page.

 

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