Every year it’s the same story… The “sakura fever” hits Japan for the brief duration of the fragile cherry blossom’s life. During the sakura season, the traditionally reserved Japanese folks get literally “crazy”!
So last year, we planned our trip to Japan right at the beginning of the cherry blossom season (in April) and it was a memorable experience.
Because cherry blossoms only open up for two weeks, Japanese people do their best to make this magic springtime moment very special. There is this ancient tradition of cherry blossom viewing called hanami. Hanami usually involves friends and families meeting under the shade of the cherry blossoms. Picnic mats are rolled out. People are enjoying bento’s and drinking sake together…
…and then quickly moving on to singing and dancing as the sake bottles are getting empty.
Some “cherry blossom groupies” even travel all around the country to find the perfect show of blossoms and the ultimate hanami. In popular areas renowned for their magnificent explosion of colours and floral show, things can get a little competitive. It is not rare for Japanese people to send out someone ahead of the party to secure the best spots.
Picking the correct dates to view the sakuras can be a real gamble as it can vary significantly depending on the weather conditions. But if you can get it right, you will be truly rewarded. The cherry blossoming period is such a big deal in Japan that the media regularly publish and broadcast sakura forecasts.
Being in Japan during the cherry blossom season felt like a fairy tale. Showcasing their fleeting beauty on every street, corner, garden and park, the beautiful clouds of pink and white sakuras gave an even stronger spiritual aura to Japan’s fantastic scenery.
Many of the popular cherry blossom spots can also be viewed at night (this is then called yozakura). Illuminated by paper lanterns, the fragile delicacy of the sakuras is fully revealed.
There are plenty of public spaces throughout Japan where the sakuras can be enjoyed.
Our personal favourite spots:
1. Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Tokyo
2. Kenrokuen Park, Kanazawa
4. Osaka Castle
This post is part of a wider blogger initiative to support Japan, see #Japanlife.