A guide to Japan's cherry blossom season

| Updated: Mar 22, 2017 02:21 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar. 21 (ANI): With cherry trees blooming, Japan's picturesque landscape will soon be transformed into a sea of pink and so, here's a guide to help you navigate this glorious floral display. Spring in Japan is associated with cherry blossoms. Since olden times, cherry blossoms have captivated the hearts of the Japanese people. The traditional custom of hanami is to visit mountains and parks with cherry blossoms and hold sake-drinking parties beneath the cherry trees in full blossom. Tokyo's Ueno Park and Mt. Yoshino in Nara are famous spots for viewing cherry blossoms and autumn in Japan evokes the beautifully coloured leaves. In this season, the mountains are ablaze in deep crimson. In Kyoto, there are many temples with gardens where you can enjoy the beautiful autumnal foliage. The greatest charm of sightseeing in Japan is surely the seasonal change, such as the cherry blossoms of spring and the crimson and golden leaves of autumn. Cherry blossoms are in bloom for only a week where they can be found, but it is between late March and mid-May that they bloom throughout the various locations in Japan, as the country is long from north to south. The Japanese call this the cherry blossom front, and it is one of the main topics of spring. Japan has countless cherry blossom trees with thousands of cherry blossom viewing spots - each with their own unique appeal such as different scenery with stunning cherry blossoms and fantastic cherry blossoms that have been standing alone for hundreds of years. The most familiar flower for Japanese is 'sakura' (cherry blossoms). Every spring, people admire cherry blossoms and have a picnic party under the blooming trees. This picnic party is also called 'hanami' (cherry blossom viewing) and it is one of the most popular events of spring in Japan. Starting from late March through early May, cherry blossoms across Japan will be in peak bloom in one region after another. Cherry blossoms in Kyushu start blooming earlier than other regions of Japan. And the opening of cherry blossoms moves northward as time goes by. The blossoms will be falling in about one week after the peak bloom. While it is nice to simply appreciate the beauty of the blossoms at the places known for cherry blossoms like Shinjuku Gyoen or Arashiyama in Kyoto, you will have more ways to enjoy cherry blossoms if you visit other popular tourist attractions. If you are lucky enough to be in Japan during cherry blossom season, it is de rigueur to head out into the local parks and gardens, bring a selection of picnic food and drinks and join the locals for a hanami - or "flower-viewing." It is during this period that the Japanese are at their most relaxed, and all public places take on a party-like atmosphere. Typical hanami spots include city parks, landscape gardens, castle grounds and along riverbanks, and you'll find all of these areas buzzing with people throughout the sakura season. The blossom usually only hangs around for a couple of weeks - sometimes less if there is heavy rain on the cards - so you only have a brief window in which you can enjoy the trees in full bloom. These parties are so popular that some companies pay a member of staff to sit in the park all day, saving a spot for the office hanami in the evening. (ANI)

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