Hanami: cherry-blossom viewing!!

By Yoshi, March 19, 2015

We, Japanese call cherry trees/blooms “sakura” (さくら, 桜).
As you know, Japanese are particularly fond of “sakura” and have planted it throughout the country.

During Cherry-blossom viewing called “hanami” (はなみ, 花見) season (from the end of March to the beginning of April in Tokyo), many people can be seen enjoying the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Cherry-blossom festivals are being held in many places. Even at night, viewing spots are crowded with people enjoying the blossoms, which are illuminated with lanterns. “Hanami” at night is called “yozakura” (よざくら, 夜桜).

Each spring, the cherry blossom season begins in Okinawa and moves gradually northward. Although at each place the petals fall after about a week, a person traveling north with the “cherry blossom front” would be able to enjoy the blossoms for nearly three months.

The blossom forecast is announced each year by the weather forecast on TV, web, and is watched carefully by those planning “hanami” as the blossoms only last a week or two.
This is this year’s blossom forecast. it might be changed by whether, tho.

In modern-day Japan, “hanami” mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath “sakura” during daytime or at night. After we decide the date we have “hanami”, we have to take some space beneath trees. You can see a lot of blue plastic sheets everywhere there are “sakura”. Some people keep place from the mooring or the day before the party. How much Japanese love “Hanami” ;)

Where are you going to have “hanami”?
I’ll introduce some good places for cherry-blossom viewing.
1. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

* 5 mins walk from the south exit, JR shinjuku Station.
* ADMISSION FEE is 200 yen (Adult)
* OPEN HOURS   9:00am~4:30pm.
An extensive park in center of Tokyo, has a Japanese garden as well.
Not only during the cherry blossom season, we can enjoy this park all year round. It’s really a perfect oasis for the metropolitan.
2.Inogashira park

* 5 mins walk from JR Kichijoji station on JR chuo line (OrangeLine).

There are many cherry trees near a pond.
During the cherry blossom season when the entire park is overrun with visitors for hanami.

Chidorigafuchi (Chidori-ga-fuchi) is part of the moat that surrounds the former Edo Castle and is one of the most famous places in Tokyo to see cherry blossoms. If you like, you can rent a row boat or a paddle boat. From end of march to beginning of April, Night viewing of illuminated trees is also popular.

* 5 mins walk from “Kundashita” or “Hanzomon” Stations on the subway

And near Chidorigafuchi, there is “Yasukuni” (やすくに, 靖国) temple. During the “sakura” festival (from the end of march), there are a lot of food stands. it might be good to enjoy “sakrua” with food and sake!

We have a lot of places to enjoy Cherry blossom around Tokyo and Some festivals are taken place during this period. Don’t miss Cherry blossom and enjoy “hanami” & “hanami” people-watching. You would see a lot of drunks … ;)