So, back to Sakura Matsuri... Okinawa probably holds a bunch of festivals to celebrate the Cherry Blossoms taking over the island, but I'm only aware of the 2 largest and most popular ones. There is one held up north of us in Nago, and there is one held south of us in Naha City. Because the trees bloom from north to south on the island, I decided to go see the earliest of the earliest Cherry Blossoms in all of Japan and went up to the Nago festival the other weekend. I took a drive all the way up the expressway, and then I made my way toward Mt. Yaedake where the majority of the trees were.
The trip was not a short one, but, once I got to the base of the mountain, I began seeing more and more pink trees. On the drive up, I was creeping along, bumper-to-bumper, up a narrow and winding road that was lined with Cherry Blossom trees who's pink blossoms stood out against the greenery of the mountain itself. There were a lot of people walking up and down the road as well, taking photos of all the trees. It was hard not to hit them! Just kidding, but the road really was too narrow for them to be walking along with the cars! After getting half-way up Mt. Yaedake, there was a large street, which seemed to be out-of-nowhere, and it had a HUGE line of festival tents and vendors - some had carnival type games for kids, while others were selling unusual Japanese food and desserts. I ended up parking near the heart of the festival and walking up and down the street checking out the tents and getting some noodles to eat (one of the only things I recognized). I saw a handful of Americans, but the majority of the people were locals.
After finishing my noodles, I started to walk up the second half of the mountain (now I was one of those people walking the narrow road!) and taking photos of the gorgeous blossoms. There were so many of them, but each so beautiful and deep pink - some were almost magenta!
While the largest concentrations of these trees are in areas that the festivals takes place (Nago, Naha), there are also pink trees popping up all over the rest of the island. Driving down the usual streets to go to the market, the mall or the post office, I notice a new pink tree each day it seems! I'm enjoying it now, because I know in a month, it will all be over!
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