If you are somewhat familiar with the concept of Japan, then you will know how full of character this nation is. Japan, known as the land of the rising sun, is among the main tourist attractions of the east. It’s an island country with a population of 12.68 crores. Japan has a rich culture, and the lifestyle of this Asian country is something to study. Tradition and modernism go hand in hand in this part of the world. This is the country where you will see the fastest Bullet train.
Things to Know about the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan
You will also witness the disciplined lifestyle and active celebration of traditional rituals preserved and nurtured by generations after generation. Like every civilization on earth, Japanese culture also has popular festivals celebrating its essence. Talking about the celebrations of Japan with extreme popularity and cultural significance, what comes in mind is the cherry blossom festival in Japan.
Little, white, light Cherry blossoms with a pink hue in them, immediately reminds you of Eastern Asia, especially Japan. These special flowerets of spring hold special cultural as well as spiritual significance for the people of Japan. Even if we leave out the literature and ancient cultural references, cherry blossoms are all over contemporary popular media. Movies, videogames, anime movies, even Hollywood depictions of Japan are incomplete without these breezy flowers. Consequently, the cherry blossom festival of Japan is celebrated with ardent passion each year. This festival alone attracts groups of tourists from across the entire globe to the land of Japan. Why so? You may ask, well, that’s the article is all about. So let’s find out all the things that you need to know about the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan.
- The Cherry Blossom Festival is Japan’s biggest annual event. An event that sees 60% of the population getting involved and taking part. While Japan’s meteorological agency tracks it and also forecasts it on TV, as it travels from Kyushu in the south, all the way to Hokkaido in the north.
- Firstly, there are two Japanese words that you need to know about. The name Sakura translates into Cherry blossom. And the other one is Hanami, which translates to flower viewing. If you take a Japan trip during spring, you will hear them and see them everywhere, every day.
- It’s worth noting that Sakura is a pivotal symbol in Japanese culture. For example, you take a 100 yen coin and flip it back you will see Sakura stuck on the back. That’s how important the Japanese consider the cherry blossom festival.
- And the cherry blossom festival is called Hanami in Japanese. Because flower viewing is a popular Japanese tradition. Essentially, this is a festival where families and friends gather under beautiful cherry blossoms. This tradition has its impact on Japanese literature too.
- The tradition of the cherry blossom festival dates back to a thousand years ago. At first, only the elite held feasts under flower trees. Then the practice slowly spread to the general population of the country.
- Shakura only lasts for a week or two. So the Japanese consider them as a symbol for “the cycle of life”
- This is a great occasion to try out different Japanese cuisines. They even offer cherry blossom tea if you have a taste for it.
- In 1912, Japan gifted the US 3,000 cherry blossom trees. Consequently, you can still enjoy their full bloom each spring in Washington, DC.
- For an authentic experience, plan your next Japan trip during springtime. Depending on the region, cherry blossoms bloom between January to May.
- Some of our favorite places to see the festival in Japan is Yoshino, Maruyama Park, Himeji Castle, Fuji Five Lakes, Hirosaki Castle. Lake Kawaguchi and Matsumae Park.
Things To Know While Getting Involved In The Cherry Blossom Fest
- Tip #1: Check the weather forecast. The weather in spring can get unpredictable. Therefore, you should keep an eye on the weather forecast. Japanese weather forecast is known for its precision. So it’ll be beneficial.
- Tip #2: Go early to the cherry blossom festival and get the right spot. Hanami in Japan can get crowded. Thus to get the best place under the blooming delicacies, you might need to wake up an hour early in the morning. You might want to snap those pictures soon too. Otherwise, the chances of you getting photobombed by the crowds will increase drastically.
- Tip #3: Ask for permission before photographing any of the native families having a good time. You might want to capture the candid moments the locals have with their families and friends. But don’t forget to ask them first if they wish to get photographed or not. In Japan, it’s kind of disrespectful to violet someone’s privacy. So remember to ask first.
- Tip #4: Go to the bathroom before you need to go. It’s an excellent idea to go to the toilet beforehand because the bathrooms can get crowded during the cherry blossom festival. You might even have to wait in a queue for hours. You can also go to the station or stores instead. It is farther, but there will be fewer queues, so you might end up saving time.
- Tip #5: Bring warm clothes with you. Even if the weather is mellow at the time you’re leaving the house, it can get colder in the evening.
- Tip #6: Japan is a nation with the population extremely disciplined. And they expect you to respect their way of life too. So clean up while leaving. Even if you don’t see a trash can, bring all your trash with you.
We couldn’t possibly explain the significance of Shakura in Japanese traditional culture better than this. In the movie, named 5 Centimeters Per Second, the director, Makoto Shinkai has beautifully used the symbolism of the cherry blossom petals falling through the air like snow to tell a heartfelt story of life, loss, grief, and solace. So, about the festival, it’s worth experiencing once in a lifetime so why not add it to your bucket list?