Spring has arrived in Japan and its the hanami season. The word “hanami” is the Japanese word for “flower viewing”. For about two weeks every spring, Japan transforms into a cherry blossoming paradise when the cherry trees are in bloom. The hanami enthusiast can make the most of the season by travelling through the country, starting in south and going north following the blossoming as it spreads up the country.
During daytime, people enjoy this beautiful time of the year by having picnics in the park. You meet up with friends and family or co-workers and you enjoy food and snacks together (often bento and dango).
People are playing and there’s music to enjoy. People often stay for hours until the evening, and thats when some parks are lit up by decorative paper lanterns. The night time celebration is called “yozakura”.
Since the cherry blossoming season is so short, its progress is closely watched by private agencies who will predict when it will start, and newspapers and TV will report as its happening across Japan.
In Sweden, where I live, we have cherry trees in central Stockholm, and every year when they’re in bloom there’s a celebration of both the flowers and the Japanese culture. In the past there’s been performances with taiko drums, kimono show, kyudo show and even Japan’s ambassador has been there and held a speech. Swedish cosplayer usually dress up in cosplay and have picnics under the cherry trees.
Have you been to any hanami events? In Japan or maybe elsewhere in the world?
Image credit: Picnic photo by AKphotos