Spring in Japan is one of the most beautiful seasons anywhere in the world. Every street and park is filled with cherry blossom trees in full bloom and families and groups of office workers eating and drinking under the trees.
It’s also a bit of a respite from the freezing cold of winter before the humid heat and rain of summer arrives.
The only downside of this time in Japan is that it’s over almost before it started. By the time the first week of the cherry blossoms having bloomed comes to an end most of the trees no longer have any sakura and the picnics start becoming fewer and fewer.
Part of the reason why cherry blossoms are so popular in Japan is because of the fact that they are so short-lived. Japan has a certain appreciation of products, trends and anything that can be seen as fleeting. It’s the reason why many pop idols are gone from the public zeitgeist before you can even blink.
Unfortunately this year I didn’t have the chance to have a proper hanami at the local park in my town because for most of the week the weather gods were pouring rain down almost every day. By the time the weather cleared up almost all the cherry blossoms were gone and the stalls selling their delicious foods and snacks had packed up and moved off until the next festival.
Having drinks and food under blossoming cherry trees with your friends is probably one of the most quintessential ‘Japanese’ experiences you can have and is something I’d recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to do so.