Hanami: Celebrating Japans' Cherry Blossoms

Hanami: Celebrating Japans' Cherry Blossoms

Hanami is the Japanese tradition of viewing cherry blossoms.

The custom is centuries old, dating back to the Nara period around 710 AD.

In Japan, flowering cherry blossoms are called “sakura” and usually peak at the start of April. To celebrate and honor the short-lived sakura, the Japanese hold hanami parties by picnicking under the blooming trees from morning through evening.

The Japanese people continue the tradition of hanami, gathering in great numbers wherever the flowering trees are found. Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the flowering trees, and sometimes these parties go on until late at night. In more than half of Japan, the cherry blossoming days come at the same time as the beginning of school and work after vacation, and so welcoming parties are often opened with hanami. Usually, people go to the parks to keep the best places to celebrate hanami with friends, family, and company coworkers many hours or even days before.