We decided pretty quickly that we're coming back to Japan next cherry blossom season - no matter what. The country is pretty spectacular on its own but when you see streets lined with these candy cotton coloured trees, footpaths covered in snow like petals or are greeted by a big explosion of blossoms popping out behind buildings when walking down any road, it's hard not to fall for this place even more.
Hanami translated from Japanese, literally means "flower viewing" but during cherry blossom season it's commonly referred to as viewing the blossoms and appreciating them by throwing a party, cooking delicious foods and inviting all your friends. We decided to have our own little "hanami" in Yoyogi Park (with what seemed like the rest of Tokyo) a few days before meeting our friends, who kindly invited us to join their friends for a beautiful afternoon bbq celebration. It was one of those days that just perfectly aligned and we were able to re-connect with some people special to me from when I was living there 9 years ago.
I stayed in Gifu for 1 month during my year in Japan then, and like others, this family took me into their home as one of them and I remember feeling instantly welcome. It was no different seeing them again 8 years later and we had an afternoon under the warming spring sun that I don't think I'll forget anytime soon. My absolute highlights of our entire trip to Japan were these days. My heart is so full every time I think about it.