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Are you currently planning a stay in Japan or possibly already there? Are you maybe even studying about Japan in school right now or just so intrigued by the wonderful culture that you want to know as much about it as possible? There is one thing that is so important to Japanese culture that it is practically a continuous sight in the country as it is sprinkled throughout the landscape of Japanese society and you would likely find it just about everywhere during a stay in Japan. It is a name given to a wide variety of people and places and things you will encounter in Japan, from Japanese women to popular animation characters, from food and candy to sake and more. Its image graces everything from giant glowing signs on buildings to manhole covers on streets, from kimono decoration to the headdresses of traditional entertainers, from delivery trucks to futuristic robots. It is the one, the only, legendary “Sakura” and it is a Japanese cherry blossom.

The light pink Japanese cherry blossom known as Sakura is easily the favorite icon of Japan. It is everywhere in Japanese design, and rightfully so. The Japanese cherry blossoms are spectacularly beautiful and thoroughly romantic. There are cherry trees everywhere and during a special couple of weeks in every area throughout Japan they bloom and blanket the streets and fields with their beautiful pink blossoms. The time period is generally between late March and late April and it is dependant on where in Japan you will be as it is primarily based on the arrival of spring. Sakura are likely traditionally popular not just because of their beauty, but also because of their indication of the end of winter and beginning of nicer weather. Spring is a particularly nice time in Japan as is autumn, so Sakura is truly a wonderful way to signal a joyous change in seasons.

There are special festivals and cherry blossom viewing parties held throughout the country to celebrate Sakura and one should definitely plan to go to at least one popular area to enjoy the truly amazing bliss of the intoxicatingly wonderful Sakura blossoms. It is as romantic as it gets in many ways and is also a popular occasion for couples to arrange dates to enjoy the blossoms together. Sakura is such a part of Japanese society that there are specific words for Sakura related things such as the activity of viewing the blossoms. This is called “Hanami” and a cherry blossom viewing party, which also likely includes drinking lots of sake, is called a Hanami party. During this wonderful Sakura season there are many such parties and you should plan to attend one or more while staying in Japan. Hanami is a truly unique Japanese tradition that is fun and easy for a newcomer to Japan to begin doing as soon as they arrive in the country. Just make sure you plan your stay to coincide with the Sakura schedule.

Sakura is truly wonderful so enjoy and make sure to bring a camera as they last only a little while.