Why Are the Japanese Obsessed with the Cherry Blossoms?
Japanese culture and tradition are wrapped in a veil of mysticism and offer a completely different way of enjoying simple things. This humble nation doesn’t glorify material stuff and luxury but turns to spirituality and state of mind. But their celebrations are something everyone should experience.
The vibrant and delicate cherry blossoms are one of nature’s most beautiful wonders. Their blooming is known as Sakura and Japanese festive it every year in the early spring. Observing this process with the inevitable admiration (originally known as Hanami) is something that you can uniquely experience in Japan.
In Japan, the blooming of cherry trees is taken seriously, because this flower has significant symbolism. Because it doesn’t last long (after the full bloom, petals start to fall after 3 to 5 days), these delicate flowers represent the transience, but also the beauty of life, as well as moral purity.
The Japanese attach great importance to the Sakura. They use it as a symbol on souvenirs and make cookies in this form. They even serve a special coffee with the taste of cherry flower during the festival season. In fact, in Japan, food is a kind of souvenir. Known for their precision and dedication, the Japanese make the finest pastries decorated with delicate details. Don’t be surprised to see that each cookie with a cherry symbol is hand-painted.
Attending the Cherry Blossom Festival
Japanese islands span over two climate zones. That means spring does not come to all parts of the country at the same time. Cherry blooming starts from the tropical south of the country, and over several weeks, cross the entire country. You can enjoy this natural phenomenon in every part of the state.
To know where to stay during the Sakura Festival in Japan, you can check a special weather forecast that tracks the temperatures and weather conditions that work for the flourishing of the cherry trees. The middle of spring is the period when most tourists come to Japan with the desire to enjoy this natural phenomenon.
At the end of April, the Japanese celebrate Golden Week. During this period, several different festivals take places, and this is an ideal occasion to visit this country. Local tourists then usually take a short break and go out of the town to enjoy the awakening of nature. Two most famous locations are the former emperor’s capital, Kyoto, and current capital, Tokyo.
If you come to Tokyo during Sakura, don’t miss the visit to the famous Shinjuku Gyoen Park. It is the place where tourists create some of the most beautiful images of the landscape decorated with pink and white cherry flowers. As you stroll through the parks and streets covered with soft petals, you can feel the magic peace and realize the power that nature has. Whatever Tokyo park you choose, you won’t go wrong.
Although the capital itself doesn’t have too many green places, the parks are lavish and enriched with several dozen different types of cherry trees. During full bloom in the spring, and especially on weekends, you will notice people of all ages and occupations sitting on the grass, having a picnic, and enjoying the view. And if you want to observe Sakura in the night, head to Ueno Park. It provides a unique experience because of the powerful lightning.
Sakura in Kyoto
Hanami is a particular pleasure if you do it in the former imperial capital, Kyoto. This city is known for its beautiful gardens, and the cherry trees have long since found their place here. In late March and early April, if you are staying in Kyoto, visit the parks (Maruyama Park is known for its all-day cherry blossom festivities), bridges (especially the Togetsukyo Bridge that offers beautiful views of the nearby mountains), or take a walk along one of the channels.
When something is your inspiration and the object of admiration, you celebrate and magnify it, just like the Japanese do during Sakura. They are people who live a completely different life and have a different view of reality than the rest of the world. Japanese adhere to their tradition and culture in every aspect of their lives, and cherry blossoms take a special place in their heart and customs.
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