Hanami and Cherry Blossom Forecasts in Japan

Yesterday at Murder is Everywhere, I posted a blog about the traditional hanami – “flower viewing” – parties that happen at sakura (cherry blossom) season.

(Photo credit: Xyrenth – used with permission.)

Cherry blossoms are such an important part of Japanese culture that the Japanese National Tourism Organization (and other media outlets) publish an annual “sakura forecast” predicting the date when cherry blossoms will open across Japan. 

(This year’s forecast is still up, here.)

(Photo credit: Xyrenth – used with permission.)

The blooms appear and die quickly–peak viewing lasts only a few short days–so the forecast is important for people wanting to plan hanami parties or outings to see the cherry blossoms in various places. The JNTO even offers a “How to ‘Hanami'” instruction guide, presumably for foreign visitors wanting to enjoy a traditional Japanese-style outing beneath the trees.  (Even if you have no intention of visiting Japan, or taking a picnic to see the blossoms, the guide is actually quite entertaining and worth a read.)

Like many aspects of Japanese culture (and modern life generally), the sakura forecast combines tradition with technology. I love the way tradition maintains an important role in Japanese life, and the fact that people appreciate nature even in the Tokyo megalopolis.

(Photo credit: Xyrenth – used with permission.)

I also love that cherry blossoms offer an opportunity for people to share time with friends, enjoy special treats, and stop to look at the world around them. It’s all too easy to let the stress of work and other obligations interfere with the truly important things in life . . . the people we love, good food, and the beauty of the natural world. Yet another aspect of Japan that I appreciate – and look forward to sharing in the year to come!

Have you ever been to a hanami party? Or seen cherry blossoms in bloom?

2 thoughts on “Hanami and Cherry Blossom Forecasts in Japan

  • April 2, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Seems the blossoms came early this year? Usually early April. Global warming!

    • April 3, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      Global warming indeed, Harvee – which scares me more than a little. And yes, the blossoms were early this year, by about a week (or a little more).

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