Hanami? What on earth does that mean, you might ask yourself. The Japanese word Hanami literally translates to “flower viewing”, but is commonly referred to as cherry blossom viewing. Traditionally, Hanami involves a picnic party to enjoy food and drinks with your friends, all while sitting underneath canopies of white and pink blossoms. You want to join in to the fun? Here’s “how to Hanami”.
Watch the Forecast & Pick a Date
Cherry blossom season ain’t a very punctual season of the year. The Japanese Weather Association releases a report around February every year, which reports the dates on when to exect the blossoms in full bloom. This is a good indicator for planning your trip, but stay flexible and keep an eye on the forecasts. Cold temperatures, wind and rain can all affect the delicate flowers and their blooming time.
Find the perfect Hanami spot
Once you’ve managed the tricky part of finding the perfect date to visit Japan, it’s time to find the perfect Hanami spot! Make sure to check if the park you intend to go to allows picnics. Also, try to arrive early, as picnic spots underneath the cherry blossom trees can fill up quickly in popular places. In some places, it is actually common practice to reserve yourself a spot by laying out your picnic mat.
Bring lots of food & drinks + your friends
Now onto everyone’s favorite part – food and drinks! Usually, Hanami is set up as a potluck, meaning that everyone brings something to share. We shared bento boxes, some snacks and Sakura Mochi which were filled with strawberries. Drinks-wise, if you want to keep it traditional, go for Sake. Of course you can bring any drinks you’d like. During cherry blossom season, you can find all sorts of seasonal drinks, such as beer with Sakura printed on the cans or Sakura pepsi.
Have fun & take of photos
‘Nuff said, right?
Leave no trace
“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.”. Make sure to take all of your trash with you when you leave your picnic spots. There aren’t many garbage bins in the streets in Japan, but you can always find some in front of convenience stores (“Conbinis” in Japanglish).
So there you go! That’s all you need to know to throw a perfect Hanami party 🙂
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