Spring and Sakura

Hanami_stream_smMany people around the world know that Japan is famous for its abundance of cherry trees that blossom in the early spring with various shades of pink. During our first spring in Kanazawa, we were excited to see if the sakura (cherry blossoms) lived up to their hype. Our city is generally very rainy, and we were hoping for just a day or two of good weather so we could get out and enjoy the sakura.

Kanazawa was graced with almost two weeks of near-perfect weather. Cool and sunny days made hanami (flower-viewing) easy, and we were able to make the most of it. During a walk along the river near our home, a line of cherry trees bloomed on the edge of the river with nearby mountains in the backdrop. Driving around town, trees in the center of main roads hung over the streets like a canopy. Cherry trees were everywhere, and like the flip of a switch, the city was pink.

Hanami_girl_c_smDuring the week when the trees were in full blossom, we were also able to enjoy hanami with friends. One morning we went to Kanazawa’s famous garden, Kenroku-en, with a few families from Megumi Kindergarten. We enjoyed the cherry trees inside the garden and around Kanazawa Castle, as well as a picnic lunch of sushi and sandwiches on the castle grounds. Later in the week, we enjoyed a picnic for two under cherry trees in a park near our home and returned to Kenroku-en two more times with friends from Kanazawa Baptist Church and to see the garden lit up at night.

Hanami_park_smWhat surprised us most was the simplicity of hanami. Aside from a few food stands outside of Kenroku-en, the main attraction, and really the only attraction, was the sakura itself. No further entertainment was needed for everyone to go out and enjoy the beauty of nature. One of the most popular festivities of the year simply brings people out of the homes in the new warmth of spring to enjoy time under the cherry trees with some picnic food, friends, and family.

For Carson and me, we loved that hanami provided an easy way to connect with those we work alongside of here in Kanazawa. It was a way for us to not only enjoy the beauty of nature with friends, but to allow our friends to share a part of their culture with us. We look back now and understand what a special time it was for us in building relationships and learning about culture. But we also look forward to the new ways we will be able to continue building these relationships in uniquely cultural ways in Japan. Festival season begins next month and continues through the summer, and we can’t wait!


Carson and Laura Foushee are Cooperative Baptist Field Personnel living in Kanazawa, Japan. Both natives of North Carolina, Carson and Laura met at McAfee School of Theology after graduating from Elon University (Carson) and N.C. State University (Laura). Carson’s passion for global missions and Laura’s passion for the local church have blended together as they serve in Japan through English language education and through Kanazawa Baptist Church as co-pastors of its international congregation.

They can be reached by email at clfoushee@thefellowship.info. Feel free to also to check out their website and the Kanazawa International Baptist Church website.

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