What To Expect From The Cherry Blossom Season?
The Cherry Blossom tradition is still very much alive today. Thousands of people fill the parks all around Japan to admire the beautiful sakura trees. It is also common to have picknick under the sakura trees. The parks get so busy that some companies send employees to the park early morning to reserve a spot for their co-workers in the afternoon. When the evening comes, many Japanese have great social events under the trees. In major cities, it can be common to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival during the night, where paper lanterns are hung.
Know that during the night, hanami (a Japanese word which used to mean “picnicking under a blooming sakura tree”) is called yozakura (night sakura), when the trees are illuminated. Even during these times, all sakura spots tend to be crowded, but because yozakura is said to be more romantic, viewing spots are predominately occupied by couples.
What Is The Cherry Blossom Festival?
The history of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan started during the Nara period, about 1300 years ago. The tradition of hanami was a custom of enjoying the beauty of blooming sakura (cherry) or ume (plum) trees. During the Heian period, this was reserved mainly for the Imperial Court, but the custom soon spread to the samurai society, and eventually to the common Japanese people. Drinking sake and having a nice lunch under the sakura trees while marvelling at the falling sakura flowers was beginning of this great tradition.
In modern times, the Cherry Blossom Forecast gets released every year by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The Sakura blooms start in January in Okinawa, reach Kyoto and Tokyo towards the end of March and finally arrive in Hokkaidō sometime in May.
Till next time,