Hanami Festival – Japan

Hanami (Hana meaning flower and mi meaning to look) or more well known as the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, takes place annually for 4 weeks between March – May. Each year the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is celebrated with the gathering of friends and family. The time is treasured and remembered, that as like the fleeting two weeks from the first flowering of Sakura till the final petal falls, life is short and to be celebrated.

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan: Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom, Japan. © MDHarding

Celebrating the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan

Each year the blossom forecast sakurazensen is recorded and watched diligently, with particular attention to the weather for when the first Sakura will flower. Announcement’s and updates are given regularly, the particular dates cannot be confirmed as rain and frost play a huge part and can also shorten the Sakura flowering period.

History of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan

Each year the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan commemorates the friendship between the United States and Japan since 1912 when 3,000 Cherry Blossom trees were presented by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. The festival as seen today started in 1927 and now welcomes more than 1.5 million people. Although it is thought the custom started in the Nara period (710-794) when it was said to be celebrated by the elite of the Imperial Court then soon after the Samurai and later by everyone.

Prunus serrulata the Japanese Cherry Blossom is native to the Himalaya’s region and today the national flower of Japan. First classified by Carl Linnaeus  in 1737 with over 200 cultivars  in Japan alone.

Sakura, Japan. © MDHarding
Sakura, Japan. © MDHarding

The best places to witness the Sakura

Typically the blossom’s appear late March – early April in Kyoto and Tokyo. The Japanese Cherry Blossom Society has created the top 100 spots to enjoy the Sakura. The temporary electric paper lantern’s are hung to enjoy the evening viewing parties – yozakura.

The parties can be very lively with music, singing and sake (Japanese rice wine) into the small hours. Also during this time some private estates open there doors.

Cherry blossom and pagoda on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima
Cherry blossom and pagoda on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima © MDHarding

Forecast for 2016

This year’s warm weather has accelerated the growth process and it is forecasted that the blossoms will appear several days earlier than previous years.

It is a special time to visit Japan and witness Sakura situated in the many gardens, temples and castle’s.

With the ever increasing popularity of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, please do book accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment.

As always we would love to hear from you, are you visiting Japan or perhaps celebrating in another part of the world? Please comment below and if you enjoyed reading don’t forget to share! Happy Travels:) x

About MichelleDeansHarding

Website: http://WWW.MDHardingTravelPhotography.com

 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via: www.MDHardingTravelPhotography.com

Other posts by the Author

4 Responses

  1. Where to See New Zealand Cherry Blossom Festivals | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Japanese are so keen on hunting down spring blossom they even have a word for it. The term “Hanami” translates loosely as “flower viewing” and it’s a huge deal in Japan. Located in the […]

  2. Garden Lover Destinations Around The World | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is widely celebrated throughout Japan. It was when the pink flowers put on an incredible display, […]

  3. Things to Do for an Authentic Japan Experience - Holiday Japan - Go4Travel Blog

    […] may have heard of the Hanami Festival (Cherry Blossom Festival), bullet train, Mount Fuji and the floating Torii Gate, but have you ever […]

  4. Avatar for MichelleDeansHarding


    So beautiful! I need to see this 🙂 I’m already planning my holiday for next year. I have already checked tickets to Japan. I think it would be nice to visit Japan during such a nice festival! Organised as always HaHa
    Any recommendation for accommodation?


Leave a Reply