First of all, it’s no longer March- thank goodness! The worst of the goodbyes are over with and that means I get to relax and focus on happier things like the warmer weather.
As someone who grew up near DC, I am very used to going to see cherry blossoms in spring. Living in Japan just makes it that much easier because they are everywhere. Go to a nearby school or a river and you’re bound to spot a few. Go hiking and you’ll be surrounded by them.
But hey, that’s the joy of doing anything in nice weather, especially in Japan.
Hanami ( 花見) is a practice in Japan where you go out, find some cherry blossoms, plunk yourself under them with some friends or family members, and enjoy yourselves. Many people bring drinks and food along–some even have little barbecues! In some places you have to be very early to get a spot, which is often claimed by a tarp or leisure mat of some sort.
Me, I don’t like fighting over spaces so I just find a place where there are a bunch of them and walk. Along the river is my favorite choice, but going into the mountains is a close favorite. If I’m pressed for time, I at least make sure to visit a shrine and walk around there for a bit.
Whatever you do, watch out for large parties of Hanami goers. If you’re not on your guard you might be pulled onto a tarp and offered a drink by people you’ve never met before. Especially if you know ANY of the language! (Note: this is also true for summer barbecues and other get-togethers).
More importantly, whatever you do, be sure to take advantage of the season…
Not only for the view, but also for… THE SEASONAL EDIBLES!
More on that later.