From late March to mid-April, Japan’s cherry blossoms attract visitors from over the world to witness the pink flowers smothering the country in pastel glory and making it pinker than a brand new Barbie collection. I missed the actual hanami bit, but did spot some late bloomers and since I read into it I thought I’d share some things you need to know.
Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are only in bloom for about 2 weeks out of the whole year. When this exactly happens varies from year to year, but as soon as the blossoms are in full bloom, they’re already starting to wilt and die. But every year, just like the pumpkin spice latter, they return!
The cherry blossoms are very important to Japanese people as many celebrations and festivals take place during the blooming season. The short blooming period is often compared to the transition nature of life, you know … It’s like that quote one of your friends lives by and reminds her that ‘every beginning has an end and that life may be very short, it’s still very beautiful’. Or even Leonard Nimoy’s “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”
The season is very fleeting, with trees reaching mankai (full bloom) roughly one week after kaika (when the first blossoms open). Check japan-guide.com for the latest info on predicted blooming times to make sure you don’t let the pink parcels of paradise pass you by! The exact date for each region differs from year to year as it all depends on the weather, and the whole thing is actually monitored by media (told you it was like pumpkin spice latte season) as the full cherry blossom moves northward.
During hanami (the cherry blossom viewing, or take-as-many-selfies-as-possible) season, Japan goes absolutely cherry blossom mad. Not only are there blossom-themed events and festivals from Fukuoka to Tokyo and Sapporo, but even supermarkets get in on the pink. So don’t just look with your eyes, stuff some limited edition sakura-flavoured foods and drinks down your throat during your stay – can you go a whole day eating just pink things? If that wasn’t enough, even McDonalds introduced cherry blossom burgers with pink buns and sakura cherry soda floats.
Have You Ever Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Japan? Or is it something on your wanderlist?