Hanami (花見) or “flower viewing” is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, “flower” in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms (“sakura”). From the end of March to early May, sakura bloom all over Japan,and around the first of February on the island of Okinawa.
Hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the flowering trees. The hanami celebrations usually involve eating and drinking, and playing and listening music. Some special dishes are prepared and eaten at the occasion, like dango and bento, and it’s common for sake to be drunk as part of the festivity.
Here are my favorite places for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo.
SHOWA KINEN KOEN
- Where to see flowers blossom (blahblahbragship.wordpress.com)
- Celebrating friendship with Japan and 100 years of U.S. hanami (japantimes.co.jp)
- Street View Guide to Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season (google-latlong.blogspot.com)
- Sakura/ Cherry Blossoms 2012 (blahblahbragship.wordpress.com)
- Ichiban Suki na Sakura (Favorite Cherry Blossoms) (kelseashiosaki.com)
- Japan gets back its cherry blossom fever (thehimalayantimes.com)