Spring Season Guide - Cherry Blossom Forecast - Hanami!
Once you've spent any length of time in Japan, you will come to realize that Hanami is personally and culturally important to the majority of Japanese from young to old.
- What once began with the Emperor has filtered down through the imperial elite, the samurai, to the Japanese people. A metaphor for life itself, the flowers are luminous and beautiful, yet fleeting and ephemeral. Hanami is the custom of taking time to enjoy this fleeting beauty of the flower. Here today and gone tomorrow. Either by wind or rain, they will inevitably be gone.
- It connects the modern era with the past. Hanami first appeared in the 11th-century literary masterwork, Genji Monogatari or The Tale of Genji. Which every Japanese person recognizes.
- The Sakura flowers, or cherry blossoms, were also used to divine the year's harvest and herald the rice planting season's arrival.
- Furthermore, gods, or Kami, were thought to reside in the cherry trees, and sake was offered in reverence.
Arguably, cherry blossom viewing is an oversimplified English translation of Hanami. Of course "hana" means flower and "mi" to see or view, but the river runs deep here.
In a more modern context, Hanami (daytime), and "yozakura" (night sakura), is a party under the trees. Groups of friends or families of all sizes gather beneath the cherry trees, boughs heavily laden with pink and white blossoms, to feast and drink and admire the scene. Older Japanese have taken to "umemi", or plum tree blossom viewing parties, as the sakura parties can get rather large and loud in younger social circles. See Yoyogi Park in Tokyo!
The Cherry Blossom Forecast
Each year, In late January, the Japan Weather Association releases their forecast for the current year. When and where will the blossoms first bloom? Is it an early, late or normal year? These blossom trends are eagerly anticipated so that people can begin to plan their intimate, or epic Hanami parties. Please see below for this years Blossom Trend!
Places to enjoy Hanami!