FLOWERING OF SAKURA – THE MAGIC OF JAPAN SPRING
Spring in Japan can only mean one thing: sakura blossom.
Located between long, brutal winter months and humid hot summer, spring is the most popular time of year for tourism in Japan, both domestic and foreign. Sakura tours to Japan allow you to plunge into this contagious atmosphere when parks are filled with revelers, and snacks and blossoms of cherry blossoms are on the supermarket shelves.
The front of the cherry blossoms spread throughout the country, starting in February in Okinawa in the south and reaching Hokkaido in May. A number of factors can affect the flowering of sakura: especially cold winters can mean that flowers will appear late, mild weather leads to their early appearance, and heavy rain can lead to petals falling much faster. For this reason, before planning a spring vacation in Japan, you need to study the forecast of cherry blossom.
Sakura usually begins to bloom in Okinawa around January / February, in central Japan – in March and April, and in northern Hokkaido – in May. In areas located on higher ground, flowering begins later than in lowland areas. In Tokyo, flowering usually comes at the end of March, reaching the full flowering phase around April 5th. In Kyoto, Sakura blooms a day or two later than in the capital, while the mountainous areas around Takayama and Matsumoto blossom in about two weeks, starting in mid-April.
A traveler who was lucky to buy a tour to Japan and find himself in this country during the cherry blossoming season should definitely go to the local parks and gardens, take food and drinks for a picnic and join the locals for the khans (“admiring the flowers”). It was during this period that the Japanese were the most relaxed, and all public places acquire an atmosphere similar to a party.
Typical hanami sites, such as city parks, landscaped gardens, castle grounds and territories along river banks, are crowded with crowds of people during the sakura season. The flowers usually stay on the trees for a couple of weeks, sometimes less if it rains heavily, so visitors have a small time window in which you can enjoy the trees in full bloom. Hanami parties are so popular that some companies pay one employee for sitting in a park all day, holding a place for an evening office hanami.
Hanami parties can be held day and night. Sakura flowers are especially beautiful at dusk, when the trees are lit with lanterns.
The Hanami tradition has a long history, which began, it is believed, in the Nara period (710-794), therefore, taking part in the Khans, the tourist joins one of the most beloved and most revered rituals in Japan.
Although the term “hanami” was used almost exclusively to refer to the admiration of sakura since the Heian Period (794-1185), historically the Japanese organized parties by the hanami under the wisteria and flowering plum. Today, some older Japanese are still going to see the plum blossom (ume), which for them is a calmer alternative to the noisy Hanami parties.
In ancient Japan, the flowering of sakura was important because it marked the rice planting season and was used to predict the yield. Moreover, his fleeting beauty was a metaphor of life itself, it was praised in numerous poems.
The Japanese believed that perfume trees lived in sakura trees, and made offerings in the form of rice wine. This turned into a tradition of Hanami parties – a celebration of food, drink and fun, which is believed to have begun at the court of the Emperor Saga and became a tradition beloved by all sectors of society.
PRODUCTS WITH AROMA SACURA
During the season, the hanami to a guest of Japan may seem that the country has gone a little crazy because of sakura. Not only does a lot of thematic events and festivals take place, but even the products with scent of sakura on the supermarket shelves reflect the upcoming season.
A trip to Japan in the spring will give the tourist the opportunity to try sakura-chu-hai (sweet alcoholic beverages), sakura-dumplings, sakura-KitKat, sakura-beer, sakura-chips and even Starbucks latte with sakura flavor! What does the taste of these products look like? Most people will agree that this is a taste to which you need to get used to it, with an aroma that combines something between lavender and soap!
TOP 10 PLACES OF KHANAMI
In Japan, countless excellent places are hanami, and everyone who plans to buy trips to Japan has his own personal favorite, so we collected some of the best places from our point of view so that the traveler could begin.
1. Mount Yoshino, Nara Prefecture
With more than 30 thousand cherry trees, this mountain has been the most famous place for sakura in Japan for hundreds of years.
2. Shinjuku-goen, Tokyo
Tokyo is known worldwide as an ultra-modern metropolis with high-rise buildings and flashing neon lights, and although this is true, it also has a large number of green areas where you can take time out of the hustle and bustle.