Sakura season is finally here! The cherry blossoms started blooming in Tokyo on March 21, and expected to peak about a week later.
I write about sakura every year, but really, how can I resist? They’re so gorgeous! And the fact that they’re around for such a short period makes it all the more precious.
This year, I will kick off the first sakura post of the year and share 5 ways to enjoy sakura in Tokyo!
1. Hanami Parties
Hanami parties are pretty much a staple during the sakura season and almost a synonym of sakura, therefore it deserves the first mention.
Grab people you like, lay out the picnic mats, break out the food and booze (although I’ll take juice, thank you), sit beneath the clouds of pink, and happily bask in it. Your life is perfect now. You might even receive a bonus as the wind ruffles the cherry blossoms and bestow petals of blessings upon you.
Some places to enjoy a hanami party:
- Ueno Park [My experience | Google Maps]
- Yoyogi Park [Google Maps]
Note: Some places do not allow hanami parties (e.g. Koishikawa Korakuen) so be sure to check beforehand
Yozakura refers to cherry blossom viewing at night. It’s not simply going to any random place with sakura at night (because really, if you did that, you’d be looking at darkness and wondering what the hell you’re doing). Rather, there are some places that specially light up the trees and the full brilliance of the cherry blossoms can be enjoyed, even at night!
Enjoy yozakura at:
- Rikugien (pictured above) [Google Maps]
- Chidorigafuchi Park [My experience | Google Maps]
Yes, you read that right. Cemeteries.
It may sound like an odd choice, morbid to some, even. But during the sakura season, many people visit cemeteries with sakura trees for an afternoon of quiet appreciation of the flowers. You might even spot some people having a picnic!
I’ve always found cemeteries to exude a sense of tranquility, and when you think about it, cemeteries and sakura are not too different; both are a symbol of the fleeting and transient nature of life.
Cemeteries with cherry blossoms:
- Aoyama Cemetery [Google Maps]
- Yanaka Cemetery [Google Maps]
4. Sakura on Water
A different way to view the flowers: from the water!
There are various ways to enjoy sakura from the water; boating, foot-paddling a swan boat, and even cruises. It certainly makes for an interesting and memorable experience!
- Chidorigafuchi Park (boating) [My experience | Google Maps]
- Sumida River (cruise) [Website]
- Inokashira Park (boating, swan boat) [Google Maps]
Note: There is an urban legend that couples who go boating at Inokashira Park will break up. Take that whichever way you will!
5. More Than Viewing…
Did I catch you off guard? Yes – another way to enjoy sakura is to put it right on your taste buds!
Every spring, the menu and shelves of many establishments will come up with all sorts of sakura-flavored items. From lattes to kit kats to potato chips, sakura is everywhere. Even McDonald’s has sakura items during this period!
Personally, I don’t really care for the taste of sakura as it reminds me of almonds, which I don’t fancy. Instead, I take greater pleasure in
hoarding the sakura-themed stationery that is released during spring!
Stickers, note paper, letter sets, YASSS. Who cares if I have no one to write to and that I still have the ones from the previous year, the year before last, and the year before that…
That rounds up this week’s Friday Five! I’m excited to start my round of hanami this year! In parting, here’s one more photo of last year’s sakura, for the road ;)
its all so beautiful *_*
Heh, keep an eye out for the upcoming photos for this season! ;D