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By Ngoc Sii
Labelled the land of the Rising Sun, Japan is perhaps the one country in the world where iconic landmarks are instantly recognizable. Endowed with fresh vigor, and gentle beauty, the breathtaking tranquility of cherry blossom petals remind visitors of fragile pink bells. In spring the country is blanketed in a patchwork of fading white and pink tones, the iconic cherry blossom clouds signaling the return of spring fairies.
This is a time when the whole country, from its northernmost to southernmost tips, from robust metropolises to rustic rural areas, are draped in boundless floral carpets. Flowers are in the garden, park, along lanes, on balconies and covering the hills. Japanese people are infatuated with flowers that their farmers, having borne the brunt of brutal war and poverty, still insist on growing. There are numerous parks in Japan, each offering a sight of cherry blossoms. However, you may be stifled with the crowds. You can also steal a glance at cherry blossoms right in nearby parks, or at a pagoda, or even on a street corner. Japan has cherry blossoms all across the country, and you can see them everywhere.
Springtime in Japan is a golden time for plants and specialties to mushroom, from vegetables on mountains to familiar spices. Spring enables those blessings to proliferate. Mushrooms, taranome buds, fuki plants, cabbage and mustard greens are quite easily spotted and purchased. Japanese people believe the mild and spicy tastes of these ingredients help release the toxins that build up during winter, and that they refresh the body and cleanse the soul. In addition, they enjoy the bounty of the sea including sayori fish, shirauo, wakame seaweed and clams. All these familiar ingredients contribute to the feeling of spring. Another joy of the season are Japanese strawberries, all being quite sweet and lustrous like gemstones.
An enticing destination not only for its serene beauty Japan also strikes a deep impression on tourists with unique springtime festivities, including the Fire Walk Festival Hiwatari, AnimeJapan Fair and the Cherry Blossom Festival. One of the world’s safest and most polite countries, Japan offers visitors the feeling that places have been designed exclusively for them. The layout of homes is neat and visually pleasing, stores are in good shape and clean, the traffic is pleasant without any sirens to be heard, and even smallest details of etiquette, such as queuing, are rituals solemnly followed by the locals. The rights and responsibilities of the Japanese people can indeed make much of the world green with envy.
Spring is much loved not only because of its soothing warmth, but also because of the budding landscape and its cleansed freshness. Japan is a wonderful destination, and demonstrates that a devotion to spring is worthwhile.