BEYOND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM
Brunch Mumbai|February 9, 2020
There’s so much more to Japan than sakura, geishas and tea ceremonies
Lubna Salim

Sakura, kimono-clad geishas and the way of tea. These images flash upon my inward eye, so to speak, when I recall staring at the antique Satsuma tea set displayed in a Burma teak wood showcase in our dining room for hours. Thanks to my butterfingers I was, and still am, forbidden to touch the gold-plated crockery. But no one could stop me from visiting the country of its origin, I’d chuckle to myself, daydreaming in the midst of English literature classes where the Radiant Reader: Book Seven had a story of Japan called The Tidal Wave in which the village chief Hamaguchi heroically saves his Japanese hamlet from the tsunami.

Many moons later, when this dream finally took the shape of reality, Japan was far removed from the fairy-tale land my imagination had woven. In a good way. Because of all the things I learned whilst traversing the land of the rising sun!

Sakura or the sought-after cherry blossom was out of the question, given that airfares soar high during the season. Therefore, a more practical choice was the Tohuku region known for its scenic beauty. Perched at the tip of Honshu, the main island of Japan, this region comprises six prefectures namely Aomori, Akita, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata.

MOVE OVER, COCKPIT!

Travelling in the iconic Shinkansen or bullet trains is a given in Japan, but ever thought of learning to operate one? This experience is made possible at The Railway Museum, Omiya, in the Saitama prefecture, which is about an hour-long drive from Tokyo. And since we flew into the capital, it was hard to resist a visit before exploring the Tohuku region.

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