While I can appreciate the romantic notions of winter, I barely tolerate its harsh reality. And so with the initial stirrings of spring, things start to look a whole lot better.

Risshun (立春)—according to Japan’s traditional calendar, the one that famously comprises 72 micro-seasons that poetically label natural transitions throughout the year—is the marker that announces the start of spring in early February. Right on cue, the sun has upped its intensity a notch and temperatures have risen slightly, while the plum trees have already started to blossom and the days are noticeably a little longer. Although it’s too early to pack away winter coats, it feels good to know there are some increasingly pleasant days ahead. These photos of jizō statues and ume blossoms at a local temple were taken during risshun.


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