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I have just come back from a holiday in Japan, timed perfectly for the blossom season. Japan is a place I have always wanted to visit, perhaps thanks to anecdotes from Dad Dorris about his business trips in the early 1980s and certainly due to the gardens and a dash of ‘Lost in Translation’ as well.

We started in Tokyo Shinjuku-Ku district (above) where it was bitterly cold and grey. A smart district, clean and high rise. No street eating, drinking or smoking allowed. There’s a good idea Mrs May. We then moved to Kyoto for ten days. Further south, we used Kyoto as our base to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima. We then returned to a different area of Tokyo, Ikebukuro before returning home.

Before we set off my sister and I thought we might need to book a guide to help us navigate the city but in practice it was not needed at all. Destination signs on the metro and train network are helpfully translated into English and announcements are also given in English. At various times locals stopped to ask if they could help us find our way, one lady even leaving her place in the bus queue to help guide us. Without exception the locals were friendly, polite and happy to help.

We used taxis, metro, buses, trams, a ferry, the bullet and our feet, walking over 75!miles and it was fantastic. The bits we saw were fascinating. I can only describe the trip as like a weekend city break but for much longer, so not relaxing but completely absorbing and delightful and very exhausting!

You may not be surprised to learn that I have rather a lot of photographs of blossom and I have posted some of these Here already.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated was how much the Japanese embrace the blossom season. They party under the trees and merchandise is blossom themed.

Stationary, worthy of a post in its own right, food and sweet products, cola bottles, entrances to shops, all distinctly blossom themed.

The cleaning team waiting to go through the bullet train before departure. Actually this could be their uniform all the time but, you see my point.

Even the cars are blossom coloured. Ok may be I am getting carried away.

There are castles, temples and shrines to see and enjoy. The cities are densely built and high rise, full of convenience stores and vending machines and sushi bars and restaurants. There are neon lights, millions of people and I loved it all. Tokyo National Museum was fabulous, full of exquisite treasures, beautifully displayed. As I am no travel guide I do not intend to talk about any of these in detail other than to say that they are very interesting and fascinating and I wished I had time to see it all.

I shall share some pictures of the gardens another time but here are just a couple of the signs which amused me.

And finally

On that note, I shall sign off here. Thanks for reading. D.