Spring is the wonderful time, when nature wakes up after its long sleep. And really, what can be more marvellous than thousands of sakuras blossoming in one time? Even that the lenght of blossom period is just 7-10 days, the winter’s blues immediately passes by, freeing the road to spring.
The date, when the first sakura starts blossoming, is being described by all media of Japan. Usually it happens in the most warm part of Japan – Okinawa island, in February. In Tokyo, the capital, sakura starts blossoming usually in the middle or the end of March, and the latest one is located on Hokkaido island, spring starts there in May. In Japan you can find even special forecasts, so you will not miss the date, when the first tree starts covering itself with flowers.
The old Japanese tradition, watching the blossoming of flowers, is called hanami. Japanese go out with family and friends to parks and can sit here till dawn. It’s very hard to find a free place in parks, but sakura can be found in every garden of Japanese people, so they can celebrate hanami at home, but of course everyone tries to visit parks at least once.
The Most Popular Places for Hanami Celebration
In Japan capital there are many gardens and parks which are popular for its sakura’s trees. One of the most popular places is Shinjuku Gyoen park, which has about 1400 sakura trees and 75 kinds of it. It differs with size of the flowers, time of blossoming, forms of branches etc. Entrance is 200 yen(2 euro). Ueno Park is the next with 1100 sakura trees, but it’s also the biggest park in Tokyo. In hanami days it’s the most crowded, noisy and popular place, also because sakura’s blossoming starts here 1-2 days earlier than in other parks of the city. The wonderful park Sumida has “only” 400 trees, but they’re located along the river. Another park with sakuras and water is Kitanomaru Kōen park. Many more places are to be found to experience hanami.
Kioto, beginning of April
People say that the best place for hanami here is the so-called Philosophical path. It’s called so in honor of Japanese philosopher Nishima Kitaro, who liked to walk there. The best place for family picnics is considered to be the Maruyama Kōen, not far from Yasaka temple. There are many little restaurants and cafes, so if you’re lucky you can occupy one of them and sit just under the tree.
Hiroshima, beginning of April
The most beautiful pictures can be taken at island Miyajima, not far away from Hiroshima. The famous Shinto sanctuaries, Torii, amazingly harmony with pink flowers of sakura. Around temple Itsukushima and roads to it there are 1300 sakura trees. Along the roads you can easily meet deers, who are totally not afraid of people.
Another great place for hanami is Hiroshimajō temple, which is surrounded by 450 sakuras, and, if tired of seeing the waking up nature you can visit museum of manga (Japanese comics) and museum of modern art.
Sapporo. Beginning – middle of May
Ōdōri Kōen is the most famous park in Sapporo. On its territory there is a broadcast tower, which you can use for seeing city and the park from a height of 90 metres. Moerenuma Kōen is the biggest of modern gardens in Hokkaido. Garden was created by well known architect Isamu Noguchi and won the grand prix of prestigious architect conquest “Good Design”. There is also a sightseeing area at the height of 30 metres, so you can see the whole park with its sculptures, fountains and not so many buildings.