桜が満開の春に訪日するなら要チェック!「お花見」のマナーと持ち物まとめ

If you're visiting Japan during Spring, you're sure to see a single flower in abundance, the cherry blossom, or "sakura" in Japanese. From March to May, you'll find cherry blossom across many regions of Honshū (largest of the four main islands of Japan) and can partake in "Ohanami", the event of appreciating and looking at these beautiful flowers whilst enjoying delicious food and drink. Within Tokyo, there is Ueno Park, Meguro River, Hirosaki Park which was chosen as one of Japan's Top 3 Sakura Viewing Locations (Aomori), Osaka Castle Park (Osaka), and more. While it's a relaxing event, it does come with some specific manners and methods for enjoyment, let's take a look at them in this article so you can maybe join in during your next trip to Japan?

What is Hanami? When and What Types? 

Let's take a look into some details about Hanami.

Origins of Hanami

春の風物詩「花見」とは?桜の開花時期、桜の種類などを紹介

"Hanami" in Japanese literally means "to look at flowers." There are a few theories on where the term actually came from, but there are records of it being used within a song about nobles partaking in hanami during the Nara period (710-794 CE)​. Apparently, the event was typically held for Japanese plum plants in the past but eventually transitioned into appreciating the cherry blossom.

Also, the origin of the word "Sakura" comes from "Sa" which is said to be the name of the god of mountains and fields, with "kura" referring to the seat or place in which the god resides, this is also why some people perform hanami before planting their crops to pray for an abundant harvest.

春の風物詩「花見」とは?桜の開花時期、桜の種類などを紹介

While currently, hanami is a feature of Spring, in more recent years it has also been seen as a way to spend time with family and friends, enjoying drinks and food, enjoying cherry blossom trees that have been lit up with lights, and more. It has become an activity to enjoy and feel the changing of seasons.

Cherry Blossom Period & Types

春の風物詩「花見」とは?桜の開花時期、桜の種類などを紹介

When thinking of Spring in Japan, we're sure many of you think of cherry blossoms, but did you know there are actually over 600 different types of cherry blossom trees that change depending on the region you're in?

For example, in Okinawa, you'll typically find Hikanzakura (early bloom, with a drooping look and a deep pink color) that bloom in the middle of January.

The most well-known type, "Yoshino cherry (Prunus Yedoensis)​" blooms between March and April, but there are many that bloom much earlier, for example, Cerasus lannesiana ʽKawazu-zakura’ blooms from the beginning of February towards the beginning of March. Furthermore, mountain cherry (Cerasus jamasakura), or "Yamazakura" in Japanese, can be found in places such as Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture and is a wild cherry blossom tree that has formed through natural means. Due to the elevation of the mountain being so high up, these trees will typically bloom from the foot upwards with the highest blooming around the beginning to the end of April.

You'll even find some of the Tohoku regions to be quite slow, with cherry blossom flowers blooming around the beginning of May. In Hokkaido, people often enjoy hanami from the end of April to the end of May, with some more vibrant colors coming from types such as the sargent cherry (Prunus sargentii)​.

Be Careful What You Bring! Here are Some Top Preperations! 

1. Everything You need! Points on What to Bring & Wear

持ち物や食べ物の調達は要注意!花見を楽しむための持ち物&準備!

In the event that you're going to be joining the hanami event at a park, make sure to prepare a picnic with a suitable sheet size for the number of people you're visiting with as well as some drinks and snacks. Typically there will be eateries and stalls nearby to popular hanami spots, but these can get extremely busy during peak times, so if you want to avoid lining up for a while and losing out on some precious time, make sure to buy everything you need in advance. You'll also find some sushi and other lunchbox-style foods in the underground sections of department stores. We recommend buying some traditional Japanese-style foods and snacks to enjoy while looking at the cherry blossom trees!

March in Tokyo can get quite chilly with the lowest temperature of 7℃ and an average of 12℃ (Data from 2021), so make sure to dress appropriately and maybe bring a blanket. If you're wanting to check out the cherry blossom trees at night, make sure to prepare accordingly!

2. Cleaning up Garbage & Picking a Spot! Hanami Manners

During cherry blossom seasons, parking lots around popular sights will become extremely busy, with taxis often having long wait times.
We highly recommend using public transportation such as trains and buses to reach your destination, or the closest stop to it, and walking from there.

By the way, when choosing a spot for hanami, it's good manners to allow first-come first-serve, if someone gets to a spot before you, then you may need to choose something a little far away as setting up in front of or close to another person is considered bad manners.
Also, make sure to clean up all garbage and take home everything with you, there are events in which there are specified locations for garbage within popular hanami areas, if this is the case make sure to throw everything away in the appropriate spot.

Finally, make sure you don't break any branches of the cherry blossom trees, picking any plant within the parks is strictly prohibited!
Make sure to watch your manners and enjoy your stay!

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