Spring has come and gone, with the cherry and plum blossoms falling and the summer heatwave moving in their place.
This doesn’t seem to stop the nostalgia of looking back at the breathtaking view of the blossoms–thinking back to a time when it was a lot cooler.
Check out what this nostalgia of hanami is and why people from all over Japan and the world take part in the time-old tradition of Hanami.
Hanami 「花見」 can be translated “flower viewing”. It’s the custom in Japan of having parties under Sakura trees when they bloom in early spring. The term may also apply to taking a walk under the trees, so it is usually combined. 🙂
Fields of Blue Mats
It’s customary for people to reserve party spots under the trees with blue plastic mats. In some cases, people arrive 12 hours before a party to lay down a mat. Junior company staff is often selected for this important mission.
Dumplings over flowers
There’s an old Japanese saying—‘dumplings over flowers「花より団子」’. It means that people are often more interested in food and drink at hanami than the flowers themselves.
You might expect hanami to be a quiet introspective affair, right? Nice, quiet walks around the streets and temples, taking pictures. However, most hanami parties are actually fun-filled and crazy.
It’s not unusual for a DJ to play music at full concert volume in a park. Drinking in the great outdoors is a Japanese tradition and there are no laws against it. People prepare lavish picnics and full-scale drinking parties for hanami.
Festival food vendors set up shop near popular hanami locations. A wide variety of Japanese festival foods are available.