Hanami, which literally means “flower viewing,” is a time when people in Japan gather with friends and family to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom across the country during springtime. The tradition dates back to at least the 8th century when aristocrats would hold hanami parties under the blossoming cherry trees. Today, hanami is a popular pastime for people of all ages, and it’s a symbol of spring and new beginnings.
The exact timing of the hanami season can vary from year to year depending on weather patterns, but it usually takes place in late March or early April. During this time, people will gather in parks and other outdoor spaces to have picnics, drink sake or other beverages, and enjoy the beauty of the blossoms. Some people will also participate in nighttime hanami, or yozakura, when the cherry blossoms are illuminated by lanterns.
Hanami is not just about enjoying the cherry blossoms themselves but also about appreciating the transience of life and the beauty of impermanence. The cherry blossoms only bloom for a short period each year, so they serve as a reminder to cherish the present moment and make the most of life while we can.