It's no secret that Australians have a love for Japan and Japanese culture! Last year, more than 488,000 Australians travelled to Japan, with 104,000 Australians travelling to the country during Cherry Blossom Season in March and April alone (according to the Japanese National Tourism Organisation).
Question: Can you share your top travel tips for visiting Japan during Cherry Blossom Season?
Victor Law: The best time to go to see the Cherry Blossoms is around March to April. However, bear in mind the temperature varies in different seasons, my top travel tip is to check the local weather website for Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) before you go.
Question: Where are your favourite places to visit in Japan during Cherry Blossom Season?
Victor Law: While visiting the Cherry Blossoms, definitely make time for a visit to Wajima. Wajima is a city located in the Ishikawa Prefecture and is very famous for Wajimanuri, a form and style of distinct Japanese lacquerware. Wajima also has excellent morning markets and lots of wonderful onsens to visit in the city.
Question: Are there any must-do activities you haven't already recommended?
Victor Law: If you want to experience the full Cherry Blossom atmosphere, Ueno Park is one of the best. People gather around, sitting, socialising and singing while enjoying the cherry blossoms and the atmosphere. Ueno Park is very easy to access within the Tokyo area.
If the preference is to find individual Sakura trees, then a must-do activity is to visit the parks inside the temple areas. Walking amongst the temples provides another unique atmosphere to enjoy as well. One of the most spectacular is the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, it has special night illumination of the Cherry Blossoms.
Question: What foods should all Aussie try whilst in Japan?
Victor Law: Usually when people think of Japanese food, they think of sushi, ramen and cold soba, but I think one of the best foods for Australians to try whilst in Japan is Yaki Tori. Yaki Tori is skewers of chicken or other meat grilled over a charcoal fire, which Japanese people enjoy with beers and sake. I would recommend seeking out a local restaurant to try the dish, as there is often a great atmosphere where people gather to socialize and enjoy good food and drinks.
Question: Can you share one of your Japanese Cherry Blossom experiences, with us?
Victor Law: The first few times I saw the Cherry Blossoms was when I was studying in Japan.
After our half day school lessons that day, some of my classmates brought me to Ueno Park (in Tokyo). I was really surprised to see it was full of people, and everyone was sitting under the trees having picnics (except in Japan we eat sushi or some snacks from the convenient store nearby).
I think this was my favorite Cherry Blossom experience, not only the Cherry Blossoms itself, but because the whole atmosphere and environment was great!
Question: Why do you love Japan and Japanese culture?
Victor Law: I love and admire how the Japanese respect their professionalism. They are very detail orientated in every aspect, for example they will avoid the use of mobile phones on public transport and when necessary they will get off at the next stop just make their phone calls!
They have amazing determination and respect for the job they are doing. A great example is the train systems in Tokyo (the JR)! The trains are still driven by train drivers but the accuracy of every train at every stop is almost perfect, as if it was automatic.
Question: What location is next on your personal travel list?
Victor Law: There are still a lot of places in Japan that I would love to travel to. Something I've always wanted to do is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, it's meant to be a beautifully scenic especially during winter. I would also love to go snowboarding in north Japan in Hokkaido. You can keep up with all my travel adventures here: @victorlaw.
Interview by Brooke Hunter