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By REJ guest writer
April 6th, 2012
It’s early April which means it is time to enjoy Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in Tokyo. The cherry blossoms (or sakura as they are called in Japanese) start to bloom in the southern islands in March and hit Tokyo around the beginning of April which also coincides with the beginning of both the business and school year. What better way to start the “new year” than to celebrate the natural beauty of these pink blossoms. This year’s peak viewing time will likely start this weekend and run through next. So the timing couldn’t be better!
Join Real Estate Japan on a tour of the 2012 Tokyo Hanami Season. We will follow the blossoms on a tour of some of Tokyo’s best Hanami spots over the next week to 10 days and bring you a overview of local events across Tokyo.
Sakura are the cherry blossoms and flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese Cherry. Many of the varieties that have been cultivated for ornamental use do not produce fruit.
Read more about Sakura on wikipedia
Hanami has been practiced for centuries as the custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) with the appreciation of ume blossoms (plum tree blossoms). It was during the Heian Period (794–1185), that the sakura came to attract more attention and hanami became synonymous with sakura. From then on, in some of the popular literation of the day such as “haiku”, “flowers” meant “sakura.”
Hanami was first used as a term analogous to cherry blossom viewing in the novel Tale of Genji in the Heian era. The term “hanami” – as it is used today – was born. From that point on the terms “hanami” and “flower party” were only used to describe cherry blossom viewing.
Today, Japanese people still think of it as a retreat for contemplating and renewing their spirits. The tradition of hanami is still very much alive as they gather in great numbers wherever the flowering trees are found. Thousands of people fill parks or even the smallest private spots where even 1 blossoming tree can be found. They hold feasts under the flowering trees, and sometimes these parties go on until late at night. In more than half of Japan, the cherry blossoming period coincides with the beginning of the school and fiscal years, and so welcoming parties are often opened with hanami. Needless to say it is a quintessential Japanese experience and is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime (if not many times).
Read more about Hanami on wikipedia
For more information on Hanami spots around Tokyo:
At the close of the tour we will have a vote on best hanami spots and photos so please submit your photo to our Flickr community to participate. Please note there will be no iPad giveaway.
Real Estate Japan Hanami 2012 on Flickr
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