I have not been a fan of hanami parties I must admit. I thought they were really overrated, why just sit under a sakura サクラ tree with some food and drinks, it was not at all exciting for me. But 3 years in Japan and hanami is slowly growing on me!! This year I actually attended 5-6 hanami parties. Well I have given into the believe that Cherry blossom period is so short and better to enjoy every moment before the flowers are gone…so much for a mind change!!
Hanami 花見 literally means ” floor viewing”; with a view of castle or river or a temple in the background makes it even more interesting.
You need to check the cherry blossom forecast before you plan your hanami date. Every area has a different time for the full bloom. Cherry blossom festivals take place all over Japan between March to May. Festival dates are usually determined with reference to cherry blossom forecasts and vary from year to year.The slow-moving cherry blossom front (sakura-zensen) is tracked by the Japan Meteorological Agency and moves from south to north as warmer temperatures trigger trees to begin blooming. Hanami typically begins around mid March and lasts until early May with the first blooms appearing on the islands around Okinawa. The last chance to enjoy blooms is typically in cooler, northern parts of Japan such as Hakkaido.
In popular places you need to reserve a picnic spot long before. You can spread your picnic sheet early in the morning and mark it with your groups name and party’s starting time. But generally we see someone from the group ( generally new employees who are not yet good in there job in case of office parties ) waiting there in the cold, sometimes peeling vegetables for a meal of nabhe ( hot-pot) or setting up their barbecue..while the rest of the gang arrives after their work.
But hanami can be done with other simple stuff like onigiri ( rice cake ) or bento ( lunch boxes )
or just get some snacks from the convenience store. Well my hanami mostly consisted of tea and sandwiches and some chocolates thrown in. I am learning the tricks of the trade although slowly..
Alcohol, mainly beer or sake or umeshu or sakura ( cherry blossom flavoured drinks are the popular drinks. In Japan it is legal to drink in public ( Japanese people can behave well even after a couple of drinks ). Well this is everything you need to know about hanami in Japan; so let’s look at some of my hanami pictures taken at Kema Sakuranomiya Park and Utsubo Park in Osaka..
P.S. Don’t forget to get trash bags. Be sure to clean your spot. If you don’t be ready to get some angry stares.
Sweater – GAP, 30 $ on Sale, 2014;
Skirt – H&M, 26 $, 2011; also worn here
Jacket – Zara, 130 $ ( gift from mom ), 2013, also worn here;
Shoes – H&M, 50 $, 2014; aslo worn here;
Bag – GU, 20 $, 2013; also worn here;
Sunglasses – Marc Jacobs, 130 $, 2013; also worn here;