“Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.” Ikkyu Sojun
I travelled to Japan in April to spend time with my cousin Jenni, who was living there and teaching English. It was her Spring break, which meant it was a very busy time to visit Japan – when the locals were tourists as well. But it was also the time of the Hanami festivals, when the cherry blossoms bloom and there are viewing parties held across the country.
Hanami is a tradition that dates back 1000 years when aristocrats wrote poetry about the beautiful cherry blossoms. These days’ people have picnics beneath cherry blossom trees, with great merriment, eating and drinking. It was a lot of fun, and I think I love Japan’s cherry blossoms almost as much as I love Australia’s wattle.
The cherry blossom season varies slightly from season to season, and location to location. Most of the festivals are held between March and May. Once the flowers bloom, they don’t last very long; it’s usually about two weeks before they are gone for another year.
Here are some photographs of cherry blossoms that I saw on my travels in Japan.