One of the most beautiful Japanese seasons is coming soon! You will see lots of cherry blossom everywhere in Japanese spring! But do you know we have a special event for cherry blossom, which is called ‘cherry blossom viewing’ (Ohanamiお花見)? For this event, we enjoy seeing cherry blossom (Sakuraさくら) with alcohol and meals under the tree of cherry blossom! You can invite your family, friends, workmates, and everyone else! But where can we go? And what time can we have the party? We guess you have some questions about this event! Therefore, we have made the list of 5 questions and answers about cherry blossom viewing. We hope it helps for your preparation of Ohanami!
When does Cherry blossom (Sakuraさくら) come into bloom?
Because of the climate, Sakura usually start blooming from western Japan to eastern Japan. In Kyushu and Shikoku area, they start blooming around the middle of March. In Chugoku, Kinki and Kanto area, it begins in the end of March. In Chubu area, Sakuras blossom in the beginning of April. In Tohoku, they blooms around the middle of April. Lastly, in Hokkaido, they flower in the end of April or the beginning of May! However, it actually depends on the place you would like to visit and that year’s climate situation. Therefore, you need to check the Sakura information before you go! I will leave one website for you just in case. Moreover, you can enjoy Sakura flowers only for around one week after it full blooms! After that, flowers fall down, and it doesn’t look beautiful!
Where can I do cherry blossom viewing?
You can do it anywhere where there is cherry blossom! But lots of people go cherry blossom viewing somewhere near their house, like their local park since it is easy to go back to their home, which means you can drink alcohol a lot and can take small children or your dogs! However, if you do it in famous places, you would not be able to take a long time to enjoy it, because it is so crowded. Therefore, if you want to enjoy eating and drinking more than viewing beautiful cherry blossom, the local park would be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if eating and drinking are not as important as enjoying the Sakura without the crowds, local temples, shrines, lakeside and riverside would be better spots for you. Either way, you can surely see beautiful scenery of cherry blossom at famous places! In most of those famous spots, you can’t eat food, but in some parks you can. Importantly, you have to take up your place in advance for example from early morning since it gets crowded toward afternoon! Anyway, here is a website for famous spots for your future planning!
What should I bring?
It really depends on the place and who you go with but basically, you need following things for cherry blossom viewing.
Picnic sheet (usually we use ‘blue sheet’, 2.7m×3.6m for 10 people, 3.6m×5.4m for 20 persons)/ garbage bags (around 10 bags)/ toilet tissue paper and wet wipes/ foods and drinks (ex: lunch boxes, snacks, beers, Sake and juices)/ paper tray, paper cup, wood chopsticks and plastic spoons and forks (twice as much as the number of the people)/ coins (around 2000 yen with 100 and 10 yen coins to buy additional drinks from vending machines or for giving out change after collecting the party fee from everyone)
In addition, these are some useful items you can bring. We recommend you to take it with you if you still have some space to put in your bag!
Permanent marker (ex: for writing a name on paper cup)/ gum tape (ex: for fixing picnic sheet and ground)/ cardboard box (ex: for rubbish box or warm, soft cushion to put under picnic sheet!)/ disposable heating pad (ex: for making your hands and legs warm)/ travelling rug (for making you warm since it’s sometimes still cold!)/ umbrella (for sudden rain)/ foldable table (ex: for drinks that you don’t want to spill)
Should I make a lunch box at home? Or is it better to buy it in advance?
Well, this is really subjective but I think it also depends on the situation and who you go with. If you go as a family with small children and want to have family time, making a lunch box with your husband and children at home before you go could be a good idea. Also, you can save money if you make a lunch box by yourself since you might buy other things besides meals for cherry blossom viewing at supermarket or convenience store! Of course, buying a lunch box in advance would be the best choice if you do not have enough time to cook or if you go as big group like from company or school. There are lots of special lunch boxes for cherry blossom viewing during spring at supermarket and convenience store, so if you want to have an especially decorative one, you should choose from shops! It is a bit expensive, but you can share the cost with everyone, so it would not be too expensive. However, you need to book in advance since it is popular and limited!
Do I have to keep the place for cherry blossom viewing in advance?
As previously mentioned above, it is better to secure a seating place if you choose a famous park or popular place. Otherwise, you might not be able to find the place to sit and enjoy viewing party. Visit and check the place in advance, and if it is very crowded, you need to lay down your sheet before you start cherry blossom party, especially on weekends. Most of the people want to do cherry blossom viewing at lunch time, so it would be extremely crowded from around 11am. Therefore, you need to secure your place in the early morning; some people keep their sheet from 5am! Some park is forbid entry from late night to early morning, so please be careful! But if there is no rule about the time of entering the park, you can keep your spot with your blue sheet throughout the night. However, you must stay to guard your place, so surely it would be quite difficult! Luckily, some companies offer the service to take a sheet overnight for you, if you wish to use that kind of service…
Are you ready to go for cherry blossom viewing? I’ve heard that some cities in Japan have already bloomed Sakura! As I already mentioned, cherry blossoms fall quickly, so it’s a good idea to plan in advance to assure you don’t miss the beautiful Japanese spring scenery! Have a wonderful spring time in Japan!