Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan!

Spring has finally arrived, and along with this comes the ancient tradition of enjoying the famous Japanese cherry blossoms, called HANAMI in Japanese.

The tradition of HANAMI supposedly started around the Nara area during the 700s, and played an important part of rice harvesting. It was believed at the time that the Gods responsible for the rice fields lived in the cherry blossom (or SAKURA) trees, and it was common to make offerings to the Gods during this time. This later developed into a practice by the upper class of enjoying the cherry blossoms for the pure pleasure of doing so.

Today the tradition of HANAMI involves families and friends gathering under the cherry blossoms to enjoy good food and festival times. By the thousands, people gather in parks all over Japan and enjoy Japanese foods and beverages. Hanami can also be enjoyed at night time in certain locations, which is called YOZAKURA. The SAKURA trees in these parks can be beautifully lit up by paper lanterns, and the celebrations often go into the night.

In most of the big cities in Japan, like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, the cherry blossoms usually bloom around the end of March until the beginning of April. As you might have noticed, Hirakata is also currently in the midst of the blooming of the SAKURA trees, and has a range of parks for you to enjoy HANAMI with your friends.

The beautiful green Yamadaike park located in the center of Hirakata has 110 Sakura trees for all to enjoy. There is also a famous park located next to Kuzuha station called Shimin no Mori with a range of facilities for both adults and children to enjoy nature. Shimin no Mori is open from 9:00 until 17:00 every day of the week, except for Wednesdays.

The cherry blossom period is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it is a short one, so why don`t you hurry up and go celebrate!

Steffen Wiig
Student Assistant, Center of International Education
Home Institution: University of Oslo