One of the things we promised Katniss was that we would take her to see the Sakura (cherry blossoms) when they started blooming. They had started coming out the day before the Byakko Festival. We knew with the rain on Sunday that the blooms would last too long and with Katniss getting fixed on Tuesday, Monday would be our only option to take her. Of course on Monday Jeremy had to work. We decided to wait until he got off work around 5pm to take her out there and hope the sun set wouldn’t come to fast. We didn’t know if the Hanami Festival was still going on from that weekend or if it stayed as long as the cherry blossoms did. We would find out when we went.
The sun had just started to set as we parked by Kintaikyo (Japanese for Kantai Bridge). There were Japanse lanterns set up that were already lit and the cherry blossom trees that lined the river were in full bloom. It was absolutely beautiful. I started to understand why Hanami was such an important time of year.
Katniss was on her leash and collar and was anxious to get down and explore. We walked a little ways down to wear their was many Nationals set up with their cameras to take pictures of Sakura durin Hanami. Katniss instantly climbed up into a tree to smell the cherry blossoms. Once the Nationals realized she was in the tree they started calling out “Neko Neko” to her and taking her picture. She being the little ham she is, she posed for their photos. She refused to pose for my pictures. Silly kitten.
I finally managed to coax her to come down from one of the trees to pose for my photos. Instead of posing she decided to watch the Nationals walking across Kintaikyo.
After letting her pose for photos for the Nationals for an hour, Jeremy and I decide it was time to venture further down to where all the vendors were set up for the Hanami Festival. Hanami is where the Japanese have picnics and parties to watch the cherry blossoms. The area by the vendors was quite crowded with people gathering to eat under the trees and to take picture with the blossoms.
Jeremy and I decided that since Katniss was being so well behaved that we would attempt to join the Nationals by eating under the cherry blossoms as we were suppose to celebrate Hanami. We found a vendor that offered both Udon and Ramen. Jeremy ordered a spicy Ramen and I ordered the Udon. We managed to an empty table near the pathway the overlooked the Nishiki River. The Nationals loved that Katniss sat in her chair quietly while we ate. Once again the were taking her picture and calling “Neko Neko” to her. We didn’t mind them doing that. Katniss didn’t seem to mind it either. Our found was quite delicious. I really enjoyed the orange coke that Jeremy managed to find for me.
After we finished dinner I was craving something sweet. As we walked back through the vendors we discovered a vendor selling taiyaki! The vendor was very happy I knew the name of taiyaki. She also loved the photos I was taking of her and the taiyaki cooking. She gave some Sakura flavored taiyaki to try with our chocolate custard taiyaki. As we were turning to leave she gave me another taiyaki to try. I thanked her quite a bit because I was very touched by her generosity. We decided to save the taiyaki for when we got home because Katniss was getting worn out and needed to use the litter box. When we did a chance to eat the taiyaki we were surprised that the pink Sakura taiyaki was azuki beans and cinnamon. The extra taiyaki she sent home with us was strawberry custard filled. We both really enjoyed the strawberry one but I don’t think we will order the Sakura taiyaki again. We are big fans of azuki beans but I did appreciate the cinnamon in this taiyaki.
As we left the Kintaikyo, I decided to try to take some pictures of the Kintai at night. They had it lit up and it was so beautiful. I loved the photos that I was able to capture.
The Hanami Festival is definitely a festival that we will be attending again next year as family. It was something fun and different to try. I was so proud of Katniss who behaved despite being out of her element for hours. We have started talking about taking her on more adventures in the future.