It’s always stunning to view cherry-blossoms blooming in Japan. Many Japanese people enjoy cherry-blossoms viewing party which we call “Hanami” (held every spring from mid-March to April). They take it for granted by having Hanami every year.
By the way, do you know since when Japanese people have started to enjoy this event? It’s fun to enjoy it but if you know more about the background of Hanami, you may start viewing cherry blossoms in Japan you might experience changes in your point of view.
Let’s figure out the mysteries of Hanami in this article.
1. When did Japanese People Start enjoying Hanami?
It was around the year 710 of Nara Period that Japanese people have first started viewing cherry-blossoms. At that time, it was not for recreation but wishing for the good harvest. In the beginning, Japanese people enjoyed viewing the Japanese apricot trees but it changed to cherry trees gradually.
Surprisingly, cherry trees originally came from China and Japanese people imported these trees from China.
So, when Japanese people actually started to enjoy Hanami then? It was the year of 831 in Heian Period that many novels started to mention enjoying viewing cherry-blossoms and people started to grow cherry trees in their own gardens.
You can see that Japanese people have been enjoying viewing cherry-blossoms for more than 1,000 years and cherry trees are historical and traditional trees for Japanese people.
2. The Language of Flowers for Cherry-Blossoms
Do you know that cherry-blossoms stand for some meanings? Also, there are several types of cherry-blossoms and each flower has a different meaning. Cherry trees may look the same at first glance but if you look carefully, you can see the difference clearly.
Here are the major cherry-blossoms in Japan as follows:
・Someiyoshino cherry trees
This is one representative of cherry trees in Japan and the most popular name that people know. 80% of cherry-blossoms in Japan are Someiyoshino trees. Someiyoshino stands for “Pure and spiritual beauty”
・Weeping cherry trees
They are spectacular bloomers for the spring landscapes in Japan. Weeping Cherry stands for “Graceful and cover up”
Literally, cherry-blossoms bloom with double-flowers. Double-cherry stands for “Well-cultured and graceful”
・Wild cherry trees
This is a representative of wild grown cherry trees in Japan. Wild cherry stands for “Smiling at you and clean”
If you walk along the cherry-blossom trees streets, you can enjoy the meanings of each cherry tree.
3. Why do we Call Cherry-blossoms “Sakura”?
Many of you may already know that we call cherry-blossoms “Sakura” in Japanese. However, do you know why we call it Sakura?
Sakura can be divided to 2 patterns as “Saku” + “ra”
・“Saku” means bloom.
・“ra” stands for aggregation of flowers.
So, if we put together these 2 words as Sakura, this means “Many flowers are blooming”
It makes sense that if you look carefully at cherry-blossom trees, you can find many little cute cherry-blossoms blooming altogether. It means it literally.
4. Don’t Miss the “One Week” Full Blooming Period
Many of you know already that people can enjoy cherry-blossoms for a limited time from March to April every year.
However, do you know that there is a special week when cherry-blossoms will be in a full bloom?
The peak of the full-bloom term changes every year since it depends on the weather. Changing weather makes drastic change for blooming condition. If the weather remains stable (warm and sunny), the best timing for viewing cherry-blossoms is after 1 week since it started to bloom. However, if it rains or will be windy for a long time, blossoms fall from the trees immediately and we miss the stunning view.
It’s quite hard to fix the Hanami date in advance because the weather changes quite often in the spring season. It repeats with sunny, windy and rainy days constantly.
However, if you succeed on having Hanami during a full-blooming time, you’re quite lucky!
5. Any Chance to Enjoy Cherry-blossoms at Home?
If you’re too busy to go out for Hanami spot, you can also enjoy Hanami at your own place.
You can buy bonsai of cherry-blossoms in spring season if you go to the home improvement centers or flower shops in Japan. It’s not very cheap but you can have them by paying around 2,000 yen to 6,000 yen depends on the size.
Bonsai of cherry-blossoms bring on a feeling of spring and you can treat yourself by having one. You can see cherry-blossoms all the time at your house. Isn’t it luxury luxurious moment for you?
6. Cherry-blossoms have special exciting “something”
The pollen of cherry-blossoms has special substance what we call ephedrine which makes people excited. It’s not a drug so don’t worry.
Also, people say that the smell of cherry-blossoms heals people and relieves the stress. If you have a chance to smell the cherry blossoms, you can enjoy it’s sweet smell and relax.
If you see people getting excited to see cherry-blossoms outside, it may be the effect of ephedrine (or enjoying already due to drinking)
If you see different kinds of cherry trees, they’ll remind you the language of flowers or how Japanese people used to enjoy Hanami.
Hope you enjoy the aesthetics of Japan with cherry-blossoms this time.
Check the weather forecast every day and decide the best day to go out for Hanami!
Have a nice time!