Seimei from April.4 ~ April.18 (in 2020)
In 2020, the term of Seimei begins on April.4. Around this term, the sunlight becomes clearer and blighter, the air also becomes much warmer than March. In this sunlight we can see trees and flowers and other things in the nature, so everything looks so clear and blight and pure for our eyes. It is said that the word of Seimei comes from this atmosphere of these spring air.
Sakura, Sakura, Sakura! The flood of cherry blossoms everywhere in Japan
I think the word Sakura (cherry blossoms) sums up everything in this Seimei term in Japan. To tell the truth, I really love cherry blossoms. Not only me but also men and women of all ages have been looking forward to the blooming through winter. There are many kinds of cherry blossoms, but generally the Somei-yoshino is very popular. We can see them everywhere not only in the cities but also in the field at the beginning of April.
Cherry blossoms in Kyoto
There are lots of places famous for cherry blossoms in Japan. Especially I have recommendation for seeing them in Kyoto. These are the places I’ve visited before and are also my favorite places. I know there are many other famous places, so this is my recommendation “so far”.
Kodai-ji temple (https://www.kodaiji.com/e_index.html)
I went to Kodai-ji temple at the beginning of April. I could see a big shidare cherry (weeping cherry) with the illumination. It was so magical that I couldn’t leave there for a while. At nigh you can see it in the garden of Kodai-ji.
The inner court of Kyoto prefectural office(https://www.pref.kyoto.jp/en/index.html)
I guess this is very rare place for tourists. You can see a big and very old cherry tree there. My friend who has been living Kyoto so long taught me this spot. Because it was so quiet and there were few people, I could enjoy spending time calmly and peacefully. Additionally, you can see it from the window of the landing of the stairs in the office. It was really poetic, but at the same time it was so cold there!
This is a narrow sidewalk along the branch of Biwa-ko Lake Canal in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto city. It is about 1.5km lying north and south. The north point is Ginkaku-ji-bashi in Imadegawa-dori Street, and the south point is Wakaouji-bashi in Reizei-dori Street. If you go there, I recommend you to take enough time to stroll. Especially in Seimei-term it’s so exciting to stroll along this sidewalk because there are lots of cherry blossoms! They also look like a river along the canal.
You know it is so famous city with The Tale of Genji, and Byodoin Temple, and Japanese green tea, and powdered tea. I think the appeal of Uji is not only these things but also, cherry blossoms!
Seasonal food, sliced ginger prepared in vinegar
It is often served with sushi as pickled ginger, you know, gully. We can see young ginger at supermarkets around this term. Now we can eat gully all year round in Japan at sushi restaurants, but we can buy young ginger as vegetable only in this season.
This is young ginger. Have you ever seen it?
Almost every year I make young ginger pickled in sweet vinegar.
Here is how to make it. First, slice young ginger and boil them for about one minute. And then, prepare the seasoning which is composed of sugar and vinegar. Put it into a hot-pot and boil it, then put the sliced-ginger into it and boil for a while. Take the pot off a fire, and cool it down. After that, put the ginger with the seasoning into a sterilized bottle. That’s all, it's so easy. Besides, its color is also light pink like Sakura! We can feel spring atmosphere in the kitchen.
This is the gully I made this year, ta-dah!
Sakura in a cup, one of Japanese sweets
This is a Kuzuyu with a cherry blossom which is preserved with salt. It's one of the Japanese sweets produced by a confectioner Cho-kyu-dou ( 長久堂 ) in Kyoto. This is made of arrowroot starch. Put it in a cup, pour boiled water, and mix it with spoon. Then, the white-color kuzu spreads and a piece of salty-cherry-blossom comes up. We enjoy the aroma like tea and the beauty of cherry blossoms. We eat the sweet-taste kuzu, but of course we don’t have to eat the blossom! When I tasted this Kuzuyu, I felt that it had nice aroma like Sakura-mochi. During eating, the piece moves on the surface of Kuzuyu, it looks like real cherry blossom petal in the nature.
Seeing cherry blossoms in the room, Stay at home
Because of the corona-virus pandemic in 2020, I couldn't go out for seeing cherry blossoms. I stayed at home and saw it in the room.