There is an urban legend in Japan that under each beautiful Sakura, or cherry tree, are corpses of the dead and the tree feeds on them. This originates from a short story written in 1928 by the famous writer Motojiro Kajii*. The story takes the form of a monologue by a seemingly deranged protagonist, explaining how he finally figured out this secret.
* “Lemon” is another famous work by Kajii, in which the main character places a lemon on top of a pile of art books at a bookstore as an act of revolt against daily routine life. The story is a common high school textbook material, and even today inspires students to procure the citrus fruit and raid nearby bookstores.
Of course the story is a work of fiction, but I do sometimes feel eerie when I see cherry blossoms in the moonlight.
On the other hand, Sakura in daylight is nothing but festive. It attracts visitors from around the world, and perhaps this explains why we had over 100 guests for our tour on Saturday, a record high for our organization. I went with a group of 18 with my partner guide.
I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that a young guest from the United States was interested in Japanese shrines. His father told me they were planning to visit Kyoto in the following days. I sincerely hope they were able enjoy the historical city famous for its shrines and temples.
The Sakura will should be in season for the next week or two. Do join our tour to see them at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.
(Report by Yohei)