THE buds started blossoming a week before I arrived in Tokyo. The cherry blossoms were into its second week and have already reached its full bloom. The thrill for me was a matter of do or die.

You can’t blame a first timer like me who had planned for this trip half a decade ago.

Henry F., my host for this Japan trip, certainly did. He met me at the designated bus stop, dumped my luggage in the train station locker, bought my own Pasmo train card and went to Yokohama. It would be a two-for-one trip- seeing both Yokohama and the cherry blossoms.

Situated on Tokyo Bay, Yokohama, the capital city of the Kanagawa Prefecture, is the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo.

It was once a small fishing village during the feudal Edo period when Japan was in national isolation: Sakoku - a period where no foreigners could enter nor any Japanese could leave the country).

The 220-year sakoku ended after the Convention of Kanagawa (Treaty of Peace and Amity) was signed (under threat force) and opened the ports of Japan for commerce.

Following this treaty signing, the Port of Yokohama was opened which paved way for the faster development as a prominent port city.

Since then Yokohama became the stronghold of foreign trade in Japan until the present time. Yokohama is now considered as a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area.

Yokohama is beautiful, and I haven’t even seen beyond the train station and bay area at that.

I was impressed with the balance of the towering structures that include the wide, open spaces, and expanse of greens in the modern day city.

The blue reflection of the bay and the breeze coming from it added to the area’s appeal.

The short walk from the train station to the bay area afforded me to stroll and visit the city’s popular attractions.

The Red Brick Warehouse, a historic structure with two sections— Warehouse No.1 and No.2, used as customs building when it was erected in the 1911 and 1913.

After its most recent restoration, it was converted to a shopping mall and venue for other events.

Nippon Maru, a Japanese museum ship permanently docked in the Yokohama harbor fronting the Yokohama Port Museum, is one of the attractions of the in Nippon Maru Memorial Park.

The ship was built in Kobe in 1930 to serve as a training ship for all cadets of the Japanese merchant marine.

In 1984, it was converted into a museum. But the reason why I visited Yokohama was for the cherry blossoms.

That’s where I spent most of the short time I was in the city for—on a small garden patch lined with Cherry Blossom trees by the 1909-built Minato No. 1 Bridge.

It may not be listed as one of Yokohama’s best viewing spots, but it will do, for now.

It was my first (very) short walk under the canopy of blossoms and I was grinning.

“Tomorrow I will take you to a place near my school. You will revel in its beauty and take your walk under the clouds of pink and white,” said Henry.

Before we made it home to Machida City, where my host lives, I was already imagining how it would look and feel like to be under a million cherry blossoms.

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