The national flower of Japan is the gorgeous sakura which is known by most in the states as the cherry blossom tree. It’s delicate petals, ranging from five to one hundred, glowing against the sunlight are truly enchanting when you see them with your own eyes. There is a reason these flowers inspire poetry, stories and songs… they are remarkable.
Every time I traveled to Japan as a kid it was always during the summer. I love Japan and consider it a part of my heart, love and who I am. However, the summer weather there is like being a sauna in a snowsuit and it is not something that most desire. Even sweaty everything weather can be ignored to enjoy Japan during the summer months…
Except you can’t enjoy sakura during the summer. That is something special just for the spring.
Actually, you can’t even enjoy sakura for long when they bloom in the spring. It is truly the kind of gorgeousness you have to enjoy in the moment because when they bloom they only last for a touch over a week. It seems almost bittersweet or even unfair that something so lovely is short lived.
I like to see it as natures reminder to live in the moment, appreciate what you can when you can and enjoy it.
I was told by my family that the cherry blossoms usually bloom early April in the Tokyo area but this year we were fortunate that they decided to bloom early for our trip. When we arrived the blossoms were blooming and as wel left they were falling. When the petals fall it creates a spring snowfall of flowers and something I have never seen before.
My aunt wrote to my Dad just before our trip and told him that sakura was all around Tokyo waiting to greet us and we may travel to Kyoto to see more.
My Dad, being the awesome and easily confused person he is (love you Dad!), was thinking this had something to do with dogs. One of my aunts in Japan has a small dog named Sakura… why my Dad thought the dog was going to greet us or that we would travel a few hours from Tokyo to see more dogs baffles me.
It just added ammo to make fun of him. That is my favorite part because I am such a nice daughter.
Tokyo was transformed with these beautiful flowers and you don’t realize how many sakura trees there are until they are in full bloom. The cherry blossoms blanketed an already magnificent city in absolute beauty.
We walked around the local park the first morning I was there on our way to Tokyo Skytree. I took so many pictures and could have spent the entire day there. Viewing sakura is called “hanami” and it is a very popular activity all over Japan and this became obvious when we went to Ueno Park. People laid out tarps early in the morning and picnicked all day and most through the night to sit under the beautiful sakura trees and celebrate. Picnicking under the Sakura trees and enjoying the night festivals is something I cannot wait to experience with my kids.
Traveling in Japan during the spring for Sakura Hanami Festivals is very popular. It is also very crowded and the peak travel time in Japan. If you find yourself planning a trip to Japan and want to experience the beauty of the sakura I highly recommend making it happen. The average bloom times vary in different regions of Japan… the southern areas, like Okinawa, bloom as early as January while most are in early April.
If you want to check out Cherry Blossoms in the states there are many parks that have them since Japan gave the United States thousands of Cherry Blossom trees in 1910. The gift of Sakura has been ongoing since then and some varieties have been raised to tolerate warmer climates. If you want to get a taste of the Japanese culture keep an eye out for “Cherry Blossom Festivals” in your local area… there are many happening all the time in March!
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of four awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.