Discover the Magic Sakura: The Season of Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Japan is a country distinguished for its meticulous attention to the changing seasons, encapsulating each shift with vibrant festivals and time-honored traditions. Within this annual round of celebrations, there’s one season that both Japanese locals and foreign visitors anticipate: the sakura season, or cherry blossoms.
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What is Sakura?
Sakura or cherry blossoms are a species of plants falling under the Prunus genus, prevalent in Asian areas. In Japan, the blooming of cherry trees is a natural event that signifies the commencement of spring. With its delicate and fleeting character, these flowers have become an emblem of the beauty and transcendence of life.
However, there are many varieties of cherry trees, and each has its own blooming time, though generally, the peak of the season usually falls between March and early May, depending on geographical location.
Hanami: The Tradition of Flower Viewing
The custom of having picnics underneath flowering cherry trees is known as “Hanami”. This practice dates back to the Nara era (710-794), yet it continues to be popular upto today. During this time, parks, temples, and castles around the country fill up with people enjoying the breathtaking sight these full-bloom trees offer.
The detail of petals falling down like rain, a white and pink shower covering parks and streets like some kind of spring snow, is considered tasteful and sheer aesthetic enjoyment.
Important Places to view Sakura
There are many places to enjoy cherry blossoms all over Japan, but some spots are especially memorable:
- Tokyo: Ueno Park is a great spot in the capital for a blossom stroll. Other notable locations include Aoyama Cemetery and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
- Kyoto: The Kamo River offers spectacular views of cherry blossoms in Japan’s ancient capital. Daigo-ji and Ninna-ji temples are also famous for their sakura.
- Hokkaido: Due to its northerly location, Hokkaido’s cherry blossom season happens later. In May, visitors can take in the sights at Matsumae Park and Fort Goryokaku.
The sakura season in Japan is a beautiful and enchanting phenomenon that captivates not just the locals but thousands of tourists who travel from all parts of the world to witness this dazzling display by nature.
Wherever you find yourself in Japan during spring, you’re sure to be near a Hanami spot and will be able to appreciate the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms. Always remember to respect public areas, refrain from touching or picking the flowers, and carry your litter with you to keep parks clean for everyone.