はなみ — Hanami
In Spring the cherry trees in Japan start to blossom. During these days it is a very well-known tradition to go to parks and other spots and watch the cherry trees. The required pieces of equipment for this activity are very simple: some friends colleagues or family; a couple of drinks and snacks; a tarpaulin and a nice spot under a cherry tree.
The good sites for Hanami are highly coveted by many local and foreign people and consequently reserving a spot early is recommended. Once all participants have gathered, the drinking and talking starts very soon. And as it seems to be common among Japanese a lot of them also have a nice picnic. As the Hanami proceeds more drinks are being consumed and the group’s mood rises for sure.
This season is also celebrated with decorations and festivals at shrines. Especially Kyoto with its countless amount of precious shrines, temples and parks is very popular among Japanese people for a short visit. I have been told that this is the best season for experience the beauty of Kyoto.
Unlike as I assumed as a European, the cherry trees in Japan will not carry any fruits. They just flower for about ten days and will lose their beauty eventually. Their only purpose is to blossom in spring and to bring joy to the people. So their temporary performance can be interpreted as a symbol for impermanence.
Some pictures of these days can be found in the gallery below.