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  • 執筆者の写真April Dykes

Hanami - When and where to see Sakura cherry blossoms in Japan 2024



With Spring here, the flowers are blooming, seasonal depression is loosening its grip, and Japan is about to enter into hanami season. The Starbucks Cherry Blossom event may be over, but Hanami, flower viewing, is a popular pastime that takes place during Spring and is usually done in groups with friends and family.  You can enjoy food, drinks, and games all while viewing the flowers or simply take a stroll in the park and enjoy the view.    




It is said that the cherry blossoms, sakura, represented a goddess. According to SavvyTokyo, “Japan’s oldest historical record, the Kojiki—which dates from the 700s—describes a beautiful mythical goddess that was the guardian deity of Mount Fuji…When cherry blossoms bloomed, it was a sign that the god had come down from the mountains, and it was time to plant rice” (SavvyTokyo). 




Japan used to send envoys to China to study their culture and traditions.  One of the traditions that Japan took note of was hanami.  In China, they viewed plum blossoms.  After they stopped sending envoys to China, Japan started to foster their own traditions, among them was the viewing of cherry blossoms.  Emperor Saga held the first hanami party in 812.  “Emperor Saga held the first sakura-viewing party, complete with food, music and poetry writing, after being struck by the beauty of a particular cherry tree at Jishu Shrine, which is currently part of the Kiyomizu Temple complex” (SavvyTokyo).  It became a tradition in the palace and later spread throughout the nation.   




Today, we still enjoy hanami parties, and they are a beautiful part of Japanese culture. It can be hard to know when to come since ‘spring’ is a pretty broad term. But don’t worry—there are cherry blossom forecasts that will give you a general idea of when the cherry blossoms will bloom in a particular area. So, if you plan to travel to Japan, check out the forecast, bring a picnic sheet, and enjoy hanami.




Sources:


https://livejapan.com/en/article-a0001033/ (When and where to see Sakura cherry blossoms Japan 2024)

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