In Japanese, the word "hanami" literally means "admiring the flowers." Tradition attracts tourists from all over the world, and even gradually goes beyond the country. However, neither in Chicago nor in Amsterdam nor in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, where there are also sakura alleys, admiring its bloom will not give emotions as much as in Japan. The atmosphere of the country, its customs, architecture and mentality contribute to the maximum immersion in hanami.
Sakura blooms for a short time ― about 7-10 days. If you don't have time to get into the flowering period of trees in one region, you can go to another. Or even arrange a tour around the country to enjoy cherry blossoms for a month and a half, moving from one garden to another.
Because of the short flowering period before the trip, you need to find out exactly whether you can see the awakening of the trees in a particular place, or if you can go to the region where the sakura blossoms later. Cherry blossoms are charted every year and are fairly accurate. In Tokyo, for example, cherry blossoms will bloom this year at the end of March, and in Sapporo, flowering will only begin in early May.
Good manners rules
Each Japanese park has its own rules of conduct ― be sure to follow them. The Japanese respect their land and expect the same from tourists. Here are some rules:
- You can not pick sakura, climb trees and shake them to shower the crown.
- In most parks, it is forbidden to make fires, including barbecue or barbecue.
- The same goes for alcohol: in some places, the use of alcoholic beverages is not welcome. Although here, as in any country and place, everything depends rather on the culture of drinking. One thing is a glass of wine, another is a few bottles.
- Although spring has come into its own, the temperature can be quite low.
- It is better to dress warmly, do not let the bright sun and blossoming greens deceive you.
- Check the weather forecast: a picnic in a downpour is not pleasant, but the rain can also knock off cherry blossoms that stick to your clothes.
- It is better to look at the sakura from afar, without sitting directly under the trees, otherwise the petals will fall into food and drinks.
- Not all parks have places for garbage disposal. Be prepared to take your bags with you.
Where to go for hanami
In the Japanese capital, there are several extensive parks with sakura. For example, Ueno, also known for its zoo, which has about two and a half thousand animals. If you missed the main cherry blossom season in Tokyo, pay attention to Shinjuku-gyoen (Shinjuku Gyoen), where not only early but also late varieties of sakura grow. In both parks, flowering should begin in the last days of March. Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the best Hanami venues in all of Japan.
Five Lakes Fuji
Near Mount Fuji, there are parks where Sakura grows in abundance. Five lakes (Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, Sai, Shoji and Motosu) are beautiful in their own right, and during the cherry blossom season they are even more transformed. So, from Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko), a beautiful view of the mountain itself opens in any season. On the northern and eastern shores of this lake, there are many sakura trees that bloom in early April.
In the city of Kyoto on the island of Honshu, there are also enormous parks, as if specially created for the Hanami. A water channel stretches along the city, along the banks of which cherry trees grow. This place is called the “Philosophical Road” (Path of Philosophy): it is assumed that a walk under the cherry blossoms will help you get away from vain thoughts and tune in to high thoughts. The chief place in Kyoto for hanami is Maruyama Park.
The highlight is the luxurious-looking weeping cherry, which is illuminated at night during the flowering period. In the northern part of the city is the garden Haradani-en (Haradani-en). The territory of 13 square kilometers is privately owned, so visiting the garden is paid. The cost is 1,200 yen on a weekday and 1,500 yen on weekends and holidays. If you want a quieter and more secluded holiday, we recommend you look here.
Tohoku RegionTohoku is in the northern part of the island of Honshu. Cherry blossom here comes later than in other regions. The peak is at the end of April ― beginning of May. In the small town of Kitakami, there is the wonderful Tenshochi Park, which attracts tourists year after year. Another interesting place is the city of Hirosaki, where Sakura grows in the park around the ancient castle of Hirosaki. It was built four hundred years ago ― in 1611 ― and is one of the important tourist sites.
SapporoSapporo on the island of Hokkaido has three parks at once, where you can see cherry blossoms. These are the park Maruyama (Maruyama, not to be confused with the place of the same name in Kyoto), Odori (Odori) and Moerenuma (Moerenuma). Here, the sakura will bloom the latest ― not earlier than the first days of May.
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