1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Cherry Blossom Festivals

Hanami

By

A man walks through a group of cherry blossom trees in full bloom at Koishikawa Botanical Garden, on April 1, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.
Chris McGrath/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Hanami is an important Japanese custom and is held all over Japan in spring. Hanami literally means viewing flowers, but it generally indicates cherry blossom viewing. It's said that the origin of hanami dates back to more than one thousand years ago when aristocrats enjoyed looking at beautiful cherry blossoms and wrote poems.

Nowadays, people in Japan have fun viewing cherry blossoms, drinking and eating. It is like a picnic under the trees. People bring home-cooked meals, do BBQ, or buy take-out food for hanami. In popular hanami spots, there are even competitions for the best spots. If you do not like a crowd, you can go to neighborhood parks/gardens or other quiet places. The most popular kind of Japanese cherry (sakura) tree which can be found everywhere in Japan is somei-yoshino (Yedoensis). Sakura trees bloom at different times throughout Japan, and the blooming period of somei-yoshino is usually short.

Cherry blossom festivals take place all over the country. Most of them are held between March to May, though other regions have them in January, February, and June, based on their location. Festival dates are usually determined with reference to cherry blossom forecasts and vary from year to year.

Gorgeous flowers are main attractions of the festivals, but a variety of traditional Japanese performing arts presented in many festivals can't be missed. Joining tea ceremonies held under cherry trees can be a memorable experience as well. It's fun to stop by festival vendors which sell various food and souveniors, including regional crafts and speciality food in the region. It's notable that many cherry blossom festivals hold light-up events in the evening.

  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Japan Travel
  4. Top Attractions in Japan
  5. Cherry Blossom in Japan
  6. Hanami and Cherry Blossom Festivals

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.