The thousand year old Japanese custom of Hanami, or cherry blossom festivals are a wonderful way to tune yourself back into nature and to recharge those proverbial batteries.
Hanami literally means “flower viewing” and is traditionally enjoyed while bringing along a picnic, perhaps a bottle of wine or two, and simply sitting and relaxing amidst the blossoming trees in public and private gardens. These cultural parties will often carry on way into the night.
(photo by: TANAKA Juuyoh)
Hanami festivals are held during spring time throughout the whole of Japan, but there are a few places which are particularly famed for their cherry blossom festivals such as Hirosaki noted for its abundant cherry blossoms. Hirosaki’s cherry blossom festival runs from April 23 to May 5 annually.
Another place which enjoys some of the most stunning views you’ll see anywhere, and which is home to a staggering 30,000 cherry trees, is in the Nara Prefecture, namely, Yoshino-yama mountain. The festival is typically held here between April 10 and 12 each year.
Another famous location is the blossom viewing tunnel at the Japan Mint, Osaka. During April the grounds are open for one week and over 100 different varieties of cherry blossom are admired by an appreciative public. The festival opens on March 28, but for best viewing it is recommended to visit between April 3 to 11.
Ueno Park, Tokyo, becomes a spectacular sight during spring time as 1,200 cherry trees bloom in all their glory creating a magnificent feast for the senses. While in the park you might also like to take look around the zoological garden, as well as the National Science Museum and Tokyo National Museum. The cherry blossom festival opens on March 28, but recommended dates for best viewing lie between April 5 to 14.
If you want a holiday that is going to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, then visiting Japan’s cherry blossom festivals will undoubtedly be the right thing for you. There are plenty of great Kyoto hotels to choose from which will make the perfect base for your stay. Many visitors find the cultural excursion into Japan’s cherry blossom festivals to be that perfect balance of both relaxing and energising. Will you?