Marvel at the Beauty and Meaning of the Cherry Blossom
The Sakura (also known as the Cherry Blossom) season is so sacred to the Japanese. There are few things in this life that are so incredibly beautiful, and so short lived. The blooming of these legendary trees represents a time of renewal, feminine beauty, and the fragility of human life. It provides us with a moment to reflect upon the fleeting nature of life. The Sakura’s cycles offer nobleness and radiant energy to all those lucky enough to witness its graceful dance. It serves as a reminder to shed old ways and that there’s always room for new beauty to be born. This tree gets so much attention in Japan, it’s no wonder the Cherry Blossom has become its national flower.
If you’ve gotten this far and still don’t understand what the big deal is with these Cherry Blossoms, worry not. We’ve taken the great pleasure in outlining for you the absolute eight best reasons why Sakura season is easily the best season there is. Sit tight, you may want to start checking flights (and packing a photographer).
(1) All Major cities have blooms
To be clear, these esoteric Cherry Blossoms aren't hidden away in some far away valley that you can only reach via magical school bus. No matter where you go in Japan, whether it be in the smallest countryside villages or in their biggest megacities… you’re likely to find these beauties often, and not far of from the city centers.
(2) Sakura flavored fare is in abundance
Ever wanted to try a Sakura flavored frappuccino? Well, now you can! Delight your senses with a softly sweet floral scent and taste of cherries in all your favorite snacks, sake, and munchie foods. But only for a limited time. We all know how it goes... if people are buying, producers are making. From macaroons, buns and cakes, KitKat, Moshi ice cream and so much more, you’re bound to find your sweet and savory favorites, all Sakura flavored at just an arm's length away.
(3) Picnic at the Park
I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love a good package deal. And the traditions of Hanafubuki are best served with a side of sake and delicious convenience-store snacks. Topped off with a nice blanket to sit on, you’ve got yourself the set up for ultimate success. Spending the day sitting, chatting, eating, drinking, taking pictures, and enjoying the beauty of the trees together is a cultural tradition. And if you want to score the best seat, you better beat the crowds! Some hanami-goers have even been known to bring karaoke machines to the park, talk about a party!
(4) Partake in Japans oldest tradition
What seems like a regular picnic in the park lays much deeper roots than one might think. The tradition of Hanami (Cherry Blossom viewing) parties are said to have begun taking place during the Nara period in AD 710. After all this time, it’s still one of the most highly anticipated annual events in Japan. Entire cities come together in celebration with feasts and drinks meant to be shared with loved ones. It’s during Hanami that you will find the Japanese at their most relaxed state. All public places, local parks, and gardens take on a party-like atmosphere. It turns into a cross between a massive picnic and festive outdoor party. When locals unite with tourists from all over the world in hopes to catch the simple yet elegant beauty of the hanafubuki (flower snow storm) it’s easy to feel a deeper connection to humanity. It’s said that “In the cherry blossom’s shade, there’s no such thing as a stranger.” So not only are you experiencing Japans most beautiful season, but you’ll actually be taking part in its most engrained time-honored and cultural tradition too.
(5) It’s the fastest
Part of what makes this spectacle so special is the fact that it is so short lived. The blooming season lasts roughly about two weeks. This includes; the opening of the blossoms, the full bloom, and the magnificently melancholy goodbye, which is when the blooms fall off the trees. Generally, the season begins in the south around the last weeks of March and works it’s way up north lasting until mid May.
(6) People wait all year and travel the globe to see it
Now, we’re not going to sit here and tell you that a pretty tree in Japan is going to change your life, or that it will bring forth the epiphany that you’ve been waiting for. But we will tell you that there’s a good reason why during April of 2018, over 2.7 million people traveled across the globe to see the Cherry Blossoms for themselves. That’s a 20% increase in tourism in comparison to the year before, and thats just in April. We’re months ahead and nearly all hotels and hostels are fully booked. Like the hanafubiki, this whirlwind of travelers doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon.
(7) You may experience “hanafubuki”
Hana-fu-buki! Yes, it sounds like a spell because it may just put you under one. This petal blizzard is known to be of the most enchanting and romantic experiences. Depending on the time you visit, there is a proper chance you may walk right into this “flower snow storm”, and it’s even more alluring than it sounds. Nothing lasts forever, and once those pink petals start to drop, they just won’t stop. You know what else won’t stop? These hidden codes! It’s your lucky day. Use the key: blossom for twenty five dollars off any photo tour in Japan where the wind cuts through these transient blossoms and lovingly guides them through the rhythm of its flow. This comes together into a symphony of perfectly unsynchronized snowflakes. The Japanese claim that if you are to catch one of these blooms mid-fall, plenty of good fortune is assured. What’s not to love?
(8) Sakura Inspired Souvenirs
Money talks, and when people are buying, producers are making. Not that it’s a bad thing, Sakura scented candles are in the air, and everybody’s loving it. You’ll find extensive yet limited edition pieces all over town, and I'm not just talking street-side stores. Larger corporations are getting in on the seasons’ demands. In fact, Starbucks features a whole selection of Sakura inspired mugs, water bottles, and glasses. And Disney puts out an entire section of Cherry Blossom items. So if you find yourself looking for a beautiful take-away from this trip, you’ll be sure to find a souvenir to meet your unique needs.
There are strict codes of hanami behavior that you must be mindful of. One must never pick a Sakura petal off the tree. If you do, expect proper disapproval from on-looking locals. Dare to break off a branch? The foreign tourist police will react as a warrior protecting his sacred land would. Avoid this scenario at all costs. You do NOT want to poke to bear.
It’s easy to brush all this off when you haven’t experienced it for yourself, but don’t sit around and think you’ll be able to book a hotel and flight a week or two before the season begins. To the Japanese and many pristine beauty seekers, this is a big deal! Start planning now and book a vacation photographer for your next dream destination. As an international photography company it’s our mission to capture the moments you will never want to forget. Vacation photography is worth more than a selfie. Treat your dream destination with the respect it deserves and make the memories last forever. Pack a photographer today and witness the culture and excitement that new experiences can bring into your life.
Let us know if you enjoyed this edition of our “Travel Guide” series and leave a comment telling us what you’re looking forward to the most about Sakura season!