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Erin Hanson’s Sakura Adventure

Erin visited the cherry blossoms in her recent Japan trip

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

I just returned from my second trip to Japan. My goal for this trip was to find inspiration among the blossoming cherry trees known in Japan as "sakura."

Japan's cherry blossom viewing is a centuries-old cultural tradition. During the few weeks of peak bloom, cherry flower festivals take place all across the country, with millions flocking to see the transient blooms. Often accompanied by picnics, parties, and saki, the viewing of cherry blossoms is called "hanami," which means "viewing flowers." 

I arrived in Tokyo to rain and gray skies. The blossoms had not opened into full bloom yet. After viewing the most popular sakura spots (and learning how to use the train system), we headed to Kyoto, where the promise of sun beckoned. 

Kyoto was filled with hundreds of cherry blossom sites, and the white/pale pink Yoshino cherry trees were in peak bloom! By the end of the week, the darker pink weeping cherry trees were also blooming. I eagerly chased the sunlight and found enough inspiration to paint a thousand paintings.

I enjoyed seeing many of the same gardens and temples I had visited when I last traveled to Kyoto to photograph the Japanese maple trees at peak fall color. I recognized many of the same maple trees I'd painted before -- but now they were covered in tiny, bright green maple leaves, like little stars forming veils of green filigree.

My last stop was Osaka, where I discovered night-illuminated cherry trees at Osaka Castle. The entire trip was a magnificent journey, and I have been so inspired at my easel! 

Below, you will find a few (very few!) photos from my trip, along with some of the paintings this trip inspired! Keep an eye on my portfolio as I continue to paint and explore the inspiration I found on this trip.

Erin Hanson during her Japan visit.

Joy among the sakura

Blossom fields in Japan

Sakura against a clear blue sky

Sakura by Erin Hanson

Night Sakura at Osaka Castle

Night Blossoms by Erin Hanson

Japanese Quince

Flowering Quince by Erin Hanson

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If you would prefer to get alerts about new cherry blossom paintings inspired by this adventure? Let Linda know.


(503) 334-3670 


Erin Hanson ArtistERIN HANSON has been painting in oils since she was 8 years old. As a young artist, she worked at a mural studio creating 40-foot-tall paintings on canvas, while selling art commissions on the side. After getting a degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, Erin became a rock climber at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Inspired by the colorful scenery she was climbing, she decided to paint one painting every week for the rest of her life. She has stuck to that decision ever since, becoming one of the most prolific artists in history. Erin Hanson's style is known as "Open Impressionism" and is now taught in art schools worldwide. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism.

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