The nearest you can get to Japan in springtime Britain could be Harrogate. Because the Stray – that picnickable green expanse in the heart of the elegant spa town – has two avenues packed with cherry trees. They give you one of the country’s top ten best sakura experiences: a little bit of Kyoto in North Yorkshire.
Plenty of people were there strolling and selfieing, some even painting pictures of it all. And there were quite a few picnic parties looking just like the hanami (‘blossom viewing’) groups you get in every Japanese park during the sakura season. I didn’t hear any Japanese, but I did hear plenty of Chinese. And West Riding accents.
Obviously, we were there on bikes; the Stray is just half a mile’s trundle from the train station, and a cherry stone’s throw from Betty’s, the Spa, and – with an orangery feel – one of the most elegant Wetherspoons in the land.
I used to live in Japan, so I enjoyed this for old time’s sake. Except I couldn’t find any sake. I think the Wetherspoons has Asahi Superdry, though.