Discover this Japanese natural phenomenon during spring time
Many people should have heard of the word “sakura” more than once. But what does this word really mean? Sakura means cherry blossom. The whole country is full of cherry trees. Sakura reaches its maximum splendor in spring when the white and pink flowers become full bloom. Depending on the area of the country sakura blooms at the beginning of February (in the most southern part of the country) until the beginning of May (in the most northern part).
In order to celebrate Sakura, the arrival of spring, Japanese people usually meet in the parks of their cities with friends, family or colleagues. They usually bring food and drinks and hold their own party under cherry blossom trees, which is called Hanami. Hanami is a tradition that everybody takes very seriously in Japan. Some people also sing, dance or even play traditional instruments like shamisen, a kind of Japanese guitar.
The first trees bloom in Okinawa during the first weeks of February, when Hokkaido is still full of snow! But from Kyushu to Tohoku the cherry blossom peak takes places in April. However the dates chance every year depending on the weather, the wind and the rain. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss the best time of the month to enjoy this beautiful nature show, follow any cherry blossom forecasts! Here is a useful one!
Probably one of the best and most popular places to enjoy sakura is Kyoto. However, we would like to recommend another good area, probably less saturated with tourists than Kyoto. A very special place to enjoy cherry blossom is the northern city of Hirosaki, specially the area that surrounds Hirosaki castle. Here takes place every year a very special sakura matsuri (remember we talked about this word, matsuri, in a previos post?), a traditional festival with food stalls and all kinds of attractions! If you have the chance to go and visit Hirosaki between April 22 and May 7th don’t miss it!
If you want to see more pictures of sakura by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué click here!