The TV news told that Cherry blossoms started blooming today (March 16) in Tokyo. It is much earlier than usual and is a pleasant surprise.
Cherry blossoms are not the only flowers that tell the approach of springtime. Plums, which generally bloom a month before cherries do, tell the yet unfelt advent of the season. February is still very cold and some people may say plums are winter flowers, but it is always a consolation to me to know the winter is coming to an end.
I was traveling from last week in Catalonia, Spain and then in Kyoto, Japan, where I saw plum trees.
I saw the plum blossoms in a small old town of Paratallada (photo right). The guide said they were Japanese plums, which indeed looked familiar to me. The pink flowers made a cheerful contrast to the stone walls.
Then in Kyoto this past week, where I attended the first International Luxury Travel Market held in Japan, the change of season was more obvious. The photo on the left shows the plum blossoms near Kodaiji Temple.
In the cherry blossom season, people from all over the world flock to Kyoto and it becomes almost impossible to book an accommodation at the last minute. But it is also impossible to know in advance when the flowers will start blooming, and I bet this year, those who anticipated a "pre-cherry blossom" trip may get lucky.
The start of cherry blossoms in Kyoto is not announced this year yet, but I had a sneak preview of it (photo right, taken in Kyoto on March 12).