Tokugawa Period and Meiji

Feudal Japan culture

If you're lucky enough to stay in Japan during cherry blossom period, it's de rigueur to leave in to the regional parks and home gardens, bring an array of picnic food and products and get in on the locals for a hanami - or"flower-viewing". It really is in those times the Japanese have reached their many calm, and all public venues take on a party-like environment.

Typical hanami places include city parks, landscape gardens, castle grounds and along riverbanks, and you'll get a hold of a few of these areas buzzing with individuals for the sakura period. The blossom typically only hangs around for a month or more - sometimes less if there is hefty rain regarding the cards - which means you have only a short screen in which to take pleasure from the trees in full bloom. Therefore popular tend to be these events that some companies can pay a worker to stay in park throughout the day, saving a spot for office hanami at night!

hanami may be conducted in the daytime sunlight or perhaps in the evening. Both are lovely, but we especially benefit from the flowers in the evening whenever lanterns hang within the woods, turning the canopy a glowing pink. You can also be lucky enough to identify a geisha or two entertaining clients in trees!


The custom of hanami has a brief history extending back over numerous centuries, considered to have started during Nara stage (710-794), therefore through getting included you will end up joining in one of Japan's best-loved & most time-honoured rituals.

Though the term hanami has been utilized practically solely to mention to cherry blossom-viewing events considering that the Heian Period (794-1185), historically japan held hanami events beneath wisteria and plum blossom also. Some older Japanese nonetheless gather to look at the plum blossom (ume) today, as a far more sedate substitute for the occasionally raucous hanami gatherings.

In ancient Japan, cherry bloom had great importance because it revealed the rice-planting season and ended up being always divine the entire year's harvest. Its fleeting beauty, more over, was celebrated as a metaphor forever it self - also it had been praised in several poems of this period.

Such ended up being its importance that Japanese believed the sakura woods included spirits, and made choices to them with rice wine. This grew into the custom associated with the hanami celebration - a celebration of feasting, consuming and creating merry which considered to have begun in Imperial judge of Emperor Saga and gradually blocked down through samurai courses in order to become a tradition beloved by all echelons of culture.

Sakura items

If you are in Japan during hanami season, it can seem as though the united states moved somewhat sakura-mad. Not just are there any blossom-themed activities and celebrations taking place up and down the united states, but perhaps the services and products when you look at the supermarkets reflect the coming period - with restricted version, sakura-flavoured meals and products in the selection for a fleeting time just.

These include sakura chu-hai (nice alcohol canned beverages), sakura dumplings, sakura KitKats, sakura beer (yes, truly), sakura crisps - there is even a sakura-flavoured Starbucks latte!

And what does it taste like? Well, most people will agree totally that it is something of an obtained flavor, with a flavor somewhere between lavender and soap!

Our top ten hanami places

You will find countless great hanami spots across Japan, and everybody has actually their very own private favourite - so we've built some of our top choices to truly get you begun:

1. Mount Yoshino, Nara Prefecture

View from Yoshino's primary viewpointView from Yoshino's main viewpoint
You have to either be really brave or extremely stupid to endeavor to Yoshino during top cherry blossom period. Covered in over 30, 000 cherry woods, oahu is the most famous sakura watching area in Japan and has already been since way back when.

2. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

Tokyo is popular around the world as a hyper-modern metropolis filled with high-rise structures and blinking neon lights, and whilst this can be real - there's also an astonishing wealth of green areas where you are able to take time right out of the busyness for the town to flake out. Among the best places to see cherry bloom in Tokyo is without question Shinjuku Gyoen, that is residence to over a thousand cherry trees of both early- and late-blooming types, and thus the sakura season right here lasts longer than somewhere else within the town.

Other beautiful sakura places when you look at the city include the Imperial Palace Gardens, Hamarikyu Gardens and Ueno Park - so be sure to try several.

3. Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture

Totally re-opened in 2010 after a five-year renovation, Japan's largest and most impressive castle normally a wonderful place to begin to see the cherry bloom. This UNESCO World Heritage website has actually survived fires, wars, earthquakes additionally the Meiji Restoration is certainly one of only a handful of original feudal castles nevertheless standing in Japan - and 2015 is a particularly good year to see after its hiatus from the tourist path. In the middle of sakura woods, Himeji is without a doubt at its best in the springtime!

If Himeji actually on the schedule this spring, don't be concerned - nearly all Japanese castles (whether original or reconstructed) make exemplary hanami locations since they are traditionally enclosed by cherry trees.

4. Mount Fuji

The thing much better than one Japanese nationwide symbol is two Japanese national icons - and a couple of months each year you could get two for price of one as Mount Fuji is in the middle of cherry blossom. You'll find so many locations from which to look at Mount Fuji, but our favourites are Hakone therefore the Fuji Five Lakes area. Fuji Five Lakes could very well be better than Hakone when it comes to sakura, and two of the greatest spots will be the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko together with Chureito Pagdo, built-in the hills of Fujiyoshida City.

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