What is the cherry blossom festival?
Cherry blossoms are also known as Sakura in Japan. Cherry blossom is a type of flower that blossoms on cherry trees. The Cherry blossom festival is a delight for the eyes of the viewers. Cherry blossom festival happens periodically in Japan and is the greatest attraction for tourists. These are held all over Japan during the spring season.thousands of people gather in the parks all around Japan to admire the beauty of the Sakura tree and the flowers that bloom on them.
This tradition dates back to more than 1000 years when the aristocratic society of Japan enjoyed the blooming of flowers and wrote poems sitting under these trees. Hanami is the word used for this festival in Japan, which means “watching blossoms”.
In the present time, the mode of celebration of the Sakura festival has changed, unlike yesteryear. Today people it more like a picnic under the tree. They eat, drink and enjoy under the sakura trees. They visit the parks in the morning or in the evening for jogging or exercising.
History of cherry blossom festival
The history of cherry blossom festival dates back to the 8th century. During this period people thought that trees possessed by spirits so they made offerings in the honor of spirits. The arrival of cherry blossom was also a sign to begin rice planting.
In the beginning, the offerings were done by high officials under the blooming tree with a huge feast. But it slowly began to spread among the common people. People started planting thousands of cherry trees so that they can continue this tradition.
Writers and poets took advantage of the situation and sat under the tree, found inspirations and wrote countless poems and penned several stories about the cherry blossom festival.
When does the cherry blossom festival take place
There is no fixed date for the start of the cherry blossom festival. But it mostly starts at the end of March and continues till the end of May. But it depends on the location and weather also, somewhere it might start in March beginning and end by April whereas somewhere it might continue till June.
But it is always advisable to follow the local weather and map guide to know the exact timing of the cherry blossom festival. So that you can enjoy it and have a glimpse of japan’s beautiful festival.
What is the importance of the cherry blossom festival
The cherry blossom festival symbolizes the arrival of spring in Japan. It also helps the farmers in analyzing the time for rice planting.
It symbolizes the renewal of time and the momentary nature of life because the flowers stay for only two weeks. As their beauty is on the peak the blossoms of the tree start to fall.
Best spots to view the cherry blossom festival in Japan
Cherry blossom trees can be found throughout Japan. Wherever you go, you are likely to encounter one or two trees at least. Here is the list of several places in Japan where you can enjoy the Sakura festival.
Tokyo- It is home to a number of Sakura trees. If you are roaming in the city of Tokyo, it is most likely that you will come across a few Sakura trees and enjoy the beauty of their flowers. Nakameguro is a romantic spot where you can go enjoy the cherry blossom festival in Tokyo.
Kyoto- It is one of the UNESCO’S World heritage sites. The cherry blossom festival here can be enjoyed during the night time as it looks splendid under the dark night sky. Top spot for enjoying the beauty of cherry blossom festival includes the Maruyama park.
Nara- It has a large collection of cherry trees. Mount Yoshima which is at a distance of an hour from the Nara city has almost 30,000 cherry trees that spread like a carpet on the mountain slopes.
Mount Fuji- Fuji five lakes area provides the best view of the Sakura festival. It would be an iconic opportunity for the visitors to enjoy the Sakura festival with the snow-capped Mount Fuji.
Osaka- This metropolitan city is not very much Sakura friendly but has its own share of flowers to attract visitors. The grounds of the Japan Mint has a variety of pink and white cherry trees. It is open to the public for one week every April.
Hiroshima- It is one of the best places for Hanami. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the place where people gather and celebrate the arrival of spring amongst hundreds of cherry trees that stand alongside the river.
Kakunodate- This city is also known as “Little Tokyo”. Because of its location, the cherry trees bloom late April or early May. It’s a scenic town with beautiful cherry trees planted in the garden for many years.
How do people enjoy cherry blossom festival
During this season in Japan, people love to enjoy cherry blossom parties with family, friends, and colleagues. They enjoy drinking, eating, and playing underneath the sakura tree. It a merry time for the people of Japan. They are barbeque underneath the cherry blossom. Many people come with their groups and enjoy the potluck party that they have arranged rather than cooking there. They just eat, drink and have fun.
Many bring cooked meals, snacks, alcohols, sweets, and many other items to enjoy the custom of Hanami.
Even during the night, the viewing spots are crowded with so many people. They enjoy the beauty of cherry blossom at night. Especially the couple goes at night to enjoy the romantic night under the cherry blossom tree. They dance and sing songs along with some wine. They enjoy the beautiful time and splendid scenery of the blooming cherry flowers.
So, if you are planning to visit Japan just to see the beautiful cherry blossom festival, make sure you are planning everything well in advance. Look out for the month that you are visiting along with the cities where the cherry blossom festival stays for the longest duration.