I've got scenery pictures today. Gradually the cherry trees are blossoming farther and farther north. This week the trees are in bloom in Utsunomiya (but not yet in Nikko). Tetsu and I went to take some pictures.
Obviously this park is famous for its many cherry trees. Even over the small stream winding through the city, the little footbridge had cherry blossom decorations.
It was still early enough that the crowds weren't out yet. But different tents were being set up for selling noodles and skewered chicken and such. Various groups were already spreading out tarps and saving ground space for "Cherry Viewing Parties" to be held later in the day.
A neighborhood cat was enjoying cherry blossom viewing in his own way.
Can you see all those people on the left side of the picture? The railroad tracks were inundated with photographers vying for the most photogenic spot. On Sundays a steam locomotive comes down these tracks taking tourists and locomotive fans on a short but beautiful ride along Japanese countryside. And the cherry blossom season is considered the most beautiful! I sidled up to a couple of people camped out between two or three tripods and huge cameras with lenses as long as my arm.
"When does the locomotive come by here again?"
"Not until 3:30. (It was a bit before 12:00). If you want a good space you've got to claim it early."
Well, with all the professional cameras and decked out photographers I definitely felt small and measly with my toy camera (and I had been so proud of it a few minutes before!) I shuffled away and decided I couldn't complete with the serious camera people. Sorry. No locomotive picture. How about a picture of this morning's newspaper picture? Hey, maybe my camera can do that!
Japanese cherry blossoms are short lived, but that's what makes them all the more beautiful.