Hanami: what it is and what its meanings are

Hanami: what it is and what its meanings are

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If you are passionate about Japanese traditions and culture, you probably know one of the major tourist attractions of Japan and the cherry blossom season, or sakura.

Able to attract millions of tourists every year from all over the world, the reasons for this appeal are well known: from south to north, the country is tinged with pink and white colors, offering enchanting scenarios that last a few days.

Well, if you've seen photos of rich Japanese cherry blossom landscapes, you may have even heard of hanami, one of the words that the Japanese use the most in spring. But you know what that word e means what is hanami?

What is hanami?

The word hanami in Japanese it is composed of the kanji "flower" is "see / observe". So, the translation is quite simple: contemplate the flowers. Although, basically, for the above determinants, the word refers more specifically to cherry blossoms.

Now, if there is one thing that characterizes the Japanese, it is that they know how to enjoy small things and nature.

The Japanese attach great importance to living every moment and every season in depth. For example, in October there is the momiji-gari, which consists of taking a walk or a hike to enjoy the redness of the leaves. In spring, however, there is the well-known hanami which, however, is more difficult to "enjoy": the momiji-gari in fact lasts several weeks, while the protagonist of our current study lasts only a few days, since it represents precisely the moment in which cherry blossoms are at their peak.

Read also: Japanese trees, the characteristics of an extraordinary forest heritage

When to enjoy hanami?

As we have reported above, unlike what happens with momiji, which appears slowly and remains for several weeks, i Cherry blossoms they appear and disappear relatively quickly.

The best fruition time of this show is up to 5 - 7 days after the first flowering, when the cherry blossoms reach their maximum splendor. The full flowering period can be enjoyed for about a week, depending on weather conditions and the presence of rain.

However, even knowing this, it is difficult to predict accurately the best time to see cherry blossoms, since the date of the first flowering depends on the spring weather conditions.

Also, a lot depends on the area you are in. Flowering usually starts from south to north, unlike momiji, which starts from north to south. This means that in the southern area, cherry blossoms begin to bloom earlier, usually in March, while in the northern area they bloom around May, being the last place they can be found.

Where to enjoy Hanami?

If cherry blossoms are so famous in Japan it is partly due to the large number of places across the country where you can enjoy this beautiful spectacle of nature. Some of these places are truly beautiful and take your breath away. Unfortunately, many of the best sites are far from the main tourist cities or a car is required to access them.

In any case, if you are in the main cities, such as Tokyo and Kyoto, you will certainly have no difficulty in enjoying the best views thanks to the hanami.

Hanami in Tokyo

Tokyo it's a big metropolis full of huge skyscrapers, neon lights, super-technological train stations and… people!

So, maybe you might be led to think it's not the best place to enjoy cherry blossoms. Well… that's absolutely not true! The capital of Japan has in fact a lot of beautiful places to enjoy the cherry blossoms or to go for a hanami around its most hidden corners, or the most famous ones.

For example, a good place to start is certainly the Ueno Park, one of the largest and most famous parks in Tokyo. Many families go there throughout the year, but it is especially at the time of the hanami that its popularity increases, becoming the favorite site of many locals and tourists. On the other hand, its strong point are the almost 1000 trees that are located along the main road up to the Tokyo National Museum. Another highlight is the Shinobazu pond: here you can take pictures of the cherry trees on the pond, or rent a small boat to cross the pond and take pictures "from the inside".

Another enchanting place is the Meguro River. Four kilometers long, the Meguro River is filled with over 800 cherry trees, which offer a unique view of the canal. This area is even more beautiful at night, when the trees light up, making it one of the most romantic Japanese favorite spots.

Still, hundreds of cherry trees decorate the moats of the old Edo Castle, near Kitanomaru Park, creating one of the most beautiful images of Tokyo in spring. There are boats available for hire, but picnics on the lawn are not allowed. Visitors can still head to the nearby Yasukuni Shrine, which features another thousand cherry trees.

Finally, eyes open to the Jindaiji Temple, a lesser-known place to enjoy hanami, but no less exciting (indeed). In addition, to have a more complete and unique experience, it is advisable to book a special tour that in addition to showing the Jindaiji Temple and the neighborhood, includes a visit to a vast botanical garden that has about 100,000 plants of 4,500 types, where you can practice ceramic painting, try the delicious Jindaiji Soba noodles and much more!

Video: The Most Beautiful Cherry Blossom in the World (May 2022).