‘Tis the season for cherry blossoms! If you’ve heard of hanami, then you know it probably has something to do with family, friends, or punch-drunk salary-men picnicking under the cherry blossom trees.
You’ve heard correctly.
To each person, hanami has its own different meaning. Some people prefer quieter, local areas, sharing a few snacks with their kids, friends, or special someone, while some people prefer to go out, get drunk, and get happy with a bunch of coworkers (depends how pushy their company is to attend, I guess). In general, everybody is just a lot happier, as they all break out of hibernation and get out to take pictures of their local sakura.
Things you can expect to experience around this week (give or take) of hanami are:
- Seeing various food stands, selling takoyaki, ice cream, or mini castella cakes
- Finding lots of random sakura pedals kind of scattered around the sidewalks
- Getting some strong whiffs of sake/beer in more crowded areas
- Getting some whiffs of other flowers that start blooming around this time
- Seeing loads of different parks with their own festivals celebrating the season
- A ton of birds, and some bugs starting to emerge into Springtime
- Seeing lots of sakura-themed goods when shopping (probably the most impressive sakura collection I’ve seen so far is at Afternoon Tea. Check this shit out)
- Seeing sakura-watching boats traveling up and down the rivers
- Showing up in the background of tourists’ selfies
Just as quick as the season started, it’s already starting to end. It’s a shame that such beauty has such a short lifespan… But maybe that’s what makes them so beautiful? I guess the sakura means something different to each person, but to me, they kind of represent a beautiful, yet somewhat tragic similarity to life and life’s fragile impermanence. It makes me step back and appreciate things a little more. Makes me feel smaller and humbler in the whole scheme of things.
But then again, this could just be the long-awaited Spring talking, and making me feel all emotional.
Without further ado, I will now include photos of Sakuranomiya, Banpaku Memorial Park, Yodo River, Nara Park, and Osaka Castle – for your viewing pleasure. Although I’d recommend any of these places for next year’s hanami (if you can’t make it this year), I’ll leave that decision up to you.
Catching some early sakura at Banpaku Memorial Park:
Sakuranomiya (my top hanami location recommendation for you):
Quick factoid side-note: As you can tell by the many photos I’ve included, the five-petaled somei yoshino, yamazakura, are the most common and popular wild cherry blossom trees out here in the Kansai area. They look more white than pink and have a very soft, cloudy appearance, especially when the sun hits them juuust right.