The cherry blossom, or sakura, has been celebrated for centuries in Japan. During its spring blooming season, reports are given daily as to the best viewing areas.
Cherry trees were planted during the Heian Period (794--1191). Hanami, or flower viewing, was popular with the nobility. Over time, it became an enthusiasm of all the Japanese people.
The most common cherry blossom tree in Japan, the Yoshino cherry, was cultivated during the Edo period (1603-1867). It has very pale pink five-petaled flowers and blooms in late March and early April.
The Japanese celebrate the cherry blossom bloom with hanami parties. They may enjoy hanami directly under the tree or from a distance, especially in combination with a nearby shrine or temple.
Famous Viewing Spots
In the most popular locations, it is common for groups to reserve a picnic spot early in the morning for a picnic after work. One such spot is Tokyo's Ueno Park, which features more than 1,000 trees that are lit at night.
Festivals during hanami might include tea ceremonies, traditional music and dance. Booths sell souvenirs emblazoned with the beautiful petals of the cherry blossom, which is a symbol of good fortune and love.
- Cherry Blossoms
- Mark Edward Harris; Sakura
Japanese cherry blossom, hanami, sakura
About this Author
Gwen Bruno has 28 years of experience as a teacher and librarian, and is now a full-time freelance writer. She holds a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and master's degrees from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin. She writes articles about gardening for DavesGarden.com.