Japan in spring is a whimsical experience, as the cherry blossoms come to life in beautiful palettes of pink and white. And it’s for this reason that visiting the imperial island is at the top of every traveller’s bucket list. Japan is absolutely magical. Being our first time in Japan, we booked our trip in the first week of April, hoping to catch the cherry blossoms, which flower between late March and early May. Given the flowers only last for two weeks, we were extremely fortunate to have seen the sights of Japan shrouded in colour for our entire 10-day trip. Because I love to cram as much as I possibly can into a holiday, my now-husband Rob and I booked the Golden Route Tour to ensure we visited as many places as we could in the time we were there. [caption id="attachment_16891" align="alignright" width="435"] Tara in Japan[/caption] Flying into Osaka, we met our fellow travellers and began our tour. Our first destination was the Osaka Castle, where the castle tower is surrounded by beautiful gardens (complete with 600 cherry blossom trees!), impressive stone walls and moats, and if you climb to the top of the stairs you can take in the most amazing view over the city of Osaka. Our next stop was one of my favourites, Dotonbori, a street known known for its vibrant nightlife and where neon signs and quirky displays of oversized puffer fish, octopus, dragons and gyozas entice shoppers through their doors. The next morning, we travelled to Nara and visited Todaiji Temple, which is one of Japan’s most famous temples and is home to the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. Never one to shy away from an animal encounter, we wandered through Nara Park where more than 1200 wild sika deer roam free and have grown accustomed to being fed by the many tourists and posing for selfies (while they cheekily try to eat our clothes and steal the biscuits out of our hands).
“Rob and I headed out to explore Kyoto at night and stumbled upon the Toji Temple, which was completely transformed in its illumination, the temple and cherry blossom trees coming to life in an array of colour.”