That's right, the sakura season started 2 weeks earlier than usual. We luckily had plenty of times to go around and see as much as we could, and I definitely took way too many photos for my own good.
We got to go all around the prefecture and neighboring prefectures and see Sakura in full bloom in many places. We also smoked my hookah under illuminated sakura at night which was something on my bucket list. It was a beautiful night with no wind so the trees were still, the lake near us was still and glass-like, and the still air allowed us to blow smoke rings. The smoke wafted through the branches of sakura and was really something. We also went out to the Kamikaze memorial/Peace museum in Chiran in Kagoshima Prefecture. It was a mixture of beautiful full bloomed sakura and one of the saddest place I have ever been to in Japan. All the faces of the kamikaze pilots and their stories are there so that people can learn from them in the hopes that nothing like this happens again. It is a somber place, but amazing.
We also went to some old samurai yards and got to try some Umeshu (plum wine) made from the Ume (Japanese plums) of a 300 year old tree. It was delicious!
Some days I am really glad I speak Japanese, or else some of these places and experiences would've been lost on me as English translations and people who speak English out here are so un-common. Livin the dream.