If you’ve never been to Japan during sakura or cherry blossom season, you’ve never been to Japan at all.
Among all the possible reasons that make the Land of the Rising Sun such a favored destination all year round, it’s the advent of spring marked by the blooming of these pink delicate flowers that makes it so the most. Tourists flock to different regions of Japan to witness the beauty of sakura and partake in local hanami festivities.
Hanami, meaning “flower viewing,” used to be an activity enjoyed by Japanese aristocrats where they recited poetry and reflected on life and nature. Now, the annual tradition has become much less formal with locals celebrating sakura season instead through picnics, street performances and merriment.
It’s been said that hanami parties are the only instance the Japanese actually let loose and indulge in the revelry which explains why these outdoor parties are so fun-filled. Some even reserve their spots in parks and along riverbanks up to 12 hours before to get ahead of the crowd.
The sakura trees are also breathtaking in the evening. Flower viewing at night, or yozakura, becomes a different occasion altogether. The trees glow from the lamps and lanterns that light up the dark, and the whole scene looks so ethereal that you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into another realm.
Sakura holds so much meaning for the Japanese because it signifies new life and new beginnings. It’s a constant reminder that life is beautiful yet fleeting, so they must use every chance they get to stop and view the flowers.
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