April always signifies a new year for me. The warmth penetrates my winter skin, I shed my woollens, and migrate to every sunlit square of any room. In Japan April is the beginning of the academic year where families sport their Sunday best pastel shades to attend annual school enrolment ceremonies. Tiny, proud, uniformed children tentatively embark on the year ahead, hands clasped tightly on their way to the new.
To mark Spring I headed South, to Unzen, to Jigoku (Hell's Springs), to steaming volcanic mountains, to onsen tamago, to romantic hikes, to warm and wispy clouded skies.