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Sakura is the story of true love between a seductive princess and a lonely tree, the legend says. For the Japanese, however, it is much more than that. In Shinto history and religion, it is believed that gods take various forms, and Sakura trees were offered offerings whenever they blossomed, for a bountiful harvest and to announce the rice planting season.

Over time, the tradition became an opportunity for feudal lords to enjoy sake under the cherry blossoms’ shade. Feudal lords were great admirers of nature and, especially, of cherry blossoms.

The custom spread to the samurai class and then to ordinary people. Many trees were planted back then within castle grounds and temples all over Japan and remain beautiful places to admire cherry blossoms today.

Undoubtedly, cherry blossoms, sakura, are among the most well-known symbols of Japan and its culture. Most advertisements about Japan depict either the trees with their pink flowers in full bloom or the petals of the same colour fluttering in front of the Golden Pavilion or Mount Fuji.

Spring, and especially the season when Japanese cherry trees bloom, is considered the most beloved season by the Japanese.

These days, the Japanese celebrate hanami, the admiration of cherry blossoms, every year. They celebrate with picnics with family, friends, or colleagues. Meetings in the pleasant atmosphere and fragrance of cherry blossoms can last until late at night, when they light paper lanterns and hang them from the branches of the trees.

At picnics under the blooming cherry trees, people often bring their favourite drinks and a festive bento box containing various snacks meticulously arranged.

How long does the Hanami season last?

Cherry trees bloom from early March, starting from southern Japan, until May, with the last cherry trees waiting to bloom being those in the northern part of the country. Each city carefully prepares its forecast for the most suitable hanami period because it is an extremely important event for both Japanese and visitors.

If you are thinking of visiting Japan in the rosy colours of cherry blossoms, we at Japan By Myself carefully plan spring vacations with great attention to the hanami forecast so you can enjoy the splendour of cherry blossoms in any city you may find yourself in.

What you'll need for a picnic in the park

Fortunately, it is very easy to obtain or prepare all the necessary items for a picnic under the cherry trees. The necessary ingredients can be easily found at convenience stores or 100-yen shops. Mainly, you will need:

  • Something to sit on (Japanese people use either a large plastic mat or a large picnic blanket that the whole group can sit on);
  • Disposable cutlery, cups, and plates;
  • A bag to collect trash;
  • Your favourite drink, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic;
  • A bento box with snacks.

Spring in Japan has a lot to offer to every visitor, and hanami and sakura flowers add a special touch to the entire experience, turning it into a lifelong memory. There is no more beautiful time for a trip to Japan! 🌸

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