JAPANESE SPRING

  1. It is said that the color of the cherry blossoms was originally white but that, following the order of an emperor to have the samurai who fell in battle buried under the cherry trees, the petals turned pink for having sucked the blood of those nobles. warriors. Even those who, among the samurai according to their code of honor, decided to commit suicide, it seems they used to do it right under the cherry trees “. The Japanese spring is characterized by the Hanami, the traditional festival of cherry trees in bloom which name derives from “hana” which means “the flowers”, “mi” (miru) which means “to see” hence the literal translation “admire the flowers “, in fact the Japanese in this period can enjoy the beauty of the flowering cherry trees, the sakura. Wonderful valleys in full bloom make the landscape a fairy tale, not for nothing the Hanami festival has ancient traditions, even millenary. There are 60 places famous for their large blooms and within a few days they attract real rivers of people who come to admire the delicacy of these trees. The spectacle of sakura in bloom takes up most of spring and can be admired from early April (in the south of the island of Honshu) until mid-May (in northern Hokkaidō). The party is also an opportunity to get together and have an outdoor picnic based on fresh fish, the famous sushi, accompanied by Japanese beer and sake, to be sipped in the shade of flowering trees. And while drinking under the cherry blossoms, the hope is that a pink petal carried by the wind will plunge into your own cup of sake. During the night the party does not stop, it would be a shame to waste time since the flowering lasts very little, but the party from Hanami becomes Yozakura or “The night of the Cherry”. The sakura that is celebrated does not bear fruit, it is a particular type cultivated solely for its flowers. The beauty of these flowers consists in their eternity, these flowers never wither, the wind scatters them in the skies, disappearing from view still in perfect condition. It is for this reason that the samurai adopted them as a symbol, an eternal youth, without aging, without withering, which is just what they hoped for, that is to have a life that could honorably break (in battle or with seppuku) still in the vigor of the years.
Another version on why the Samurai have adopted the sakura as their symbol, says that it is for their ephemeral beauty, or that when the flowering is at its peak the Japanese already regrets it as it is destined to end very soon, and hence their love for beautiful things that do not last is also born, that passion that makes them fine aesthetes, which grants them the wisdom to enjoy the moment while knowing how close the sunset is, indeed perhaps precisely in function of that. Also for this almost magical characteristic of not withering, for Japanese art and culture, the cherry tree in bloom is the symbol of immortal and perfect beauty, even if so ephemeral. The hometown of Japanese cherry trees is Yoshino, its hills are colored with a warm pale pink: the legend tells that the trees were planted in the 7th century AD, in the Nara period, by the priest En-no-Ozuno, who is said had put a curse on anyone who dared to bring them down. Whatever happened, yamazakura are at the root of hundreds of hybrids subsequently obtained, and have become the Japanese variety par excellence; Empress Jito (645-702) came here to admire its flowering.
Hirosaki Castle is one of the favorite destinations for the party, it is surrounded by 5000 cherry trees, hosts the Cherry Blossom Festival (23 April-5 May) In Tokyo you can visit the Ueno park which, with its thousand trees, is one of the busiest in the city. In Kyoto, the Maruyama park which, with its immense weeping cherry tree, is the favorite destination for hanami parties. In Osaka with the castle park which houses more than 400 cherry trees and the castle lights up at night. In the seventh century, based on the flowering of the cherry trees, the type of harvest was predicted, if the flowering was abundant, then it predicted a good harvest. The tradition began with the upper feudal class, which celebrated under the cherry trees, with an abundance of food and drink. The next century, the working class also began the traditional celebrations. In spring, Japanese cuisine also changes and becomes characteristic. You can taste Dango, a specialty made from rice flour, or Sakura Mochi, a red bean paste wrapped in a cherry leaf.

VISIT ITALY: MIRAMARE CASTLE

Near Trieste, on a rocky spur overlooking the sea, stands the Miramare Castle, once the southern gate of the Austrian Empire. A place of wonders where Princess Sissi stayed during her long travels in Europe. A treasure trove of history and legend that tells the tragic story of its founder, Maximilian of Habsburg.
Here Princess Sissi saw the sea for the first time and was captivated by its beauty and impetuosity; characteristics in which the empress probably found herself.

VISIT ITALY: THE SAVOY CASTLE

The Savoy Castle was built at the behest of Queen Margherita of Savoy, who loved Gressoney so much, to the point of residing there during her summer stays until 1925, initially a guest of Baron Beck Peccoz and from 1904 in his residence. The building is located in the Belvedere area, a name due to the wonderful view that can be enjoyed, which allows you to admire the Monte Rosa valley.

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