The visual beauty of the petals is extraordinary. They come in various shades of pink, and are illuminated gloriously in the evening.
Are you planning your Tokyo vacation in spring?
If so, you'll be able to take part in the national cherry blossom festival, probably one of the major Tokyo attractions.
The cherry is actually the national flower of Japan. It signifies the arrival of spring. Sakura also marks the beginning of the new academic year (Japanese school year starts in April), and the new financial year for business.
Cherry Blossom Festival Viewing
Hanami, the cherry blossom festival viewing, includes some great traditional activities. It's an important social event for Japanese people, an opportunity to celebrate, wind down, and generally fool around a bit. Friends and family picnic with food, beer, and hot sake (rice wine).
A very popular food eaten during Hanami is called Dango. It's a chewy snack made of rice flour.
In Tokyo, the Sakura season typically takes place around the end of March and beginning of April. On Japan's southern island Okinawa, it starts around January, while on the northern island - Hokkaido, as late as May.
To complicate it -the blooming time differs from year to year depending on the weather. If the weather during the months before the season is relatively mild, blossoms will open early. If it was cold, blossoms will open later.
The start of the Sakura blooming season can vary From year to year by as much as two weeks.
Every year, around this time, the weather forecasts include reports on the advance of the Sakura zensen (sakura front). The Meteorological Agency and the media follow the so called "blossom front" as it slowly proceeds.
The cherry Bloom Is Short.
Full bloom is usually reached within one week after the opening of the first blossoms.
A week later, the blooming peak is over and the blossoms are falling from the trees. Flowers are so fragile that a warm spring rain can easily cause the petals to fall.
This delicate beauty symbolizes purity and melancholy. Japanese poetry and literature are full of analogies to it.
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