Spring in Kyoto: Ritsumeikan University Orientation Week and Cherry Blossom Hanami! - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring in Kyoto: Ritsumeikan University Orientation Week and Cherry Blossom Hanami!

After having backpacked around Asia for about a month during spring break it was time for a new semester in Kyoto! 
April is the month when the Japanese school year commence, and to celebrate the new semester Ritsumeikan has an annually opening ceremony where all the freshman participate. In addition some also bring their friends and family members, and then of course it is us exchange students as well.
The opening ceremony was held in the Osaka Dome, which is manly used as a baseball stadium.
At the entrance ceremony 
New Ritsumeikan students..!
 Most of the ceremony consisted of speeches from Ritsumeikan's many leaders and representatives. I can imagine that it must have been quite boring for those of us who didn't understand Japanese, since nothing of it was in English, of course. But still, I think the best about the ceremony was just to experience sitting in such a great, big hall with the lights and all the people, and that is not depending on your Japanese knowledges anyway, so..
In the second part of the ceremony it was time for some entertainment, and then mainly from some of the many circles (or activity clubs) at school showing of their talents and their clubs.

And this was really the week for circles at school. Spring had come to Kyoto, and along with the new students came a lot of small stands all over campus where the different activity clubs tried to recruit new members.
One of the arenas where the clubs tried to get new members was through performances at a stage that had been put up for the occasion in the middle of the campus.
Alex getting some information about one of the activity groups at school. 
The Sakura season was about to start too, and the blooming trees at campus made the Kinugasa campus look really nice.
The different activity clubs got the chance to show off their technics and skills.
Some cosplay - girls hanging around
At the end of the first week it was time for a Ritsumeikan welcome dinner, and after that for some Hanami! Hanami is a really popular event around springtime in Japan when the Sakura is in bloom. Hanami is written with the kanji (chinese sign) for flower, 花, and the sign for to see/look at, 見, and as you might have guessed it literary means to look at flowers.
Some friends gathered for Hanami at the shrine Hira no jinja (平野神社) not that far from school.
The cherry blossoms (Sakura) lighted up in the evening.
Other SKP students gathered for hanami.
 And in the upcoming days there were more chances for viewing the beautiful flowers coming up.
In the weekend me and my boyfriend Yuma went back to the Hira no Jinja shrine to take a look at the sakura again, and in addition to the flowers we got some nice entertainment as well.

In the parade we could see people dressed up in clothing representing different areas and time periods in Japan.
Yuma and I (I'm wearing high heels for once, so I look sooo tall haha..)
People sitting under the tree to drink with friends and watch the flowers. 
Sakura again. And not to mention the crowds..!!
The cherry blossoms only lasts for a short period, so it is important to get to see as much as possible while it is still there. To get some more pictures of the flowers I went out with my camera again, and this time it was me and Ericka who went to Arashiyama in the western part of Kyoto to do some exercise and to take some pictures at the same time.
Sunset and sakura
And some sakura close up!
Cherry blossoms and ducks
There's just something really Japanese with this type of scenery, and it is so pretty as well:)
 Unfortunately I guess it won't be too long till the flowers are gone, since they only lasts for a couple of weeks. Better enjoy it while one can;) See you guys later!

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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  1. I'm so envious! The sakura looks very pretty, and you've shot some amazing photos. I'm glad you got to stay in Kyoto for the spring semester.

  2. Thanks Jostein! I'm really glad I returned too. I got into seiki, so I'm a little bit busy but still I'm doing fine. I've applied for a master in international relations here at Ristumeikan too, so I might end up here longer than expected:P

  3. Nice pictures. :)
    You have a good eye!

  4. Thanks Eirik, that's nice to hear:)! I'll try to keep them coming;)


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A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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