SAKURA: JAPAN’S MOST BELOVED FLOWER.
Japan has lots of symbols when it comes to nature. Every bit and pieces of nature are very vital for them regardless of seasons. Every spring, Japanese people, even tourists waited for this season for blooming of flowers, particularly, the Cherry Blossoms.
Cherry blossoms, known as “Sakura”, are cherry trees that bear flower – Prunus serrulata. This is also Japan’s National Flower, which stands for hope, good luck, love, springtime, and renewal.
Every year, the Japanese track the cherry trees’ blooming progress. As the cherry trees begin to bloom at spring season, the Hanami event occurs. Hanami event is a tradition of Japanese people to enjoy the natural and stunning beauty of cherry blossoms. However, the blooming of flowers will only last for a short span of time. Sometimes it would only last for a week. The flower petals fall down constantly, which makes the ground of Sakura tree area filled with white or pale pink petals.
Since the blooming of cherry tree flowers only last for a short span of time, this event comes to be Japan’s symbol of human mortality and how could a short and precious life be beautiful.
These infamous flowers are often used in Japanese Art, as well as one of the designs of their clothes, and other furniture. These are also often served at a wedding and other occasions as a drink (Sakura-yu) and sometimes as a dumpling called Sakura-mochi.
March 27 is the Sakura day, decided by the Japan Sakura Association in 1992.
Global warming affect on Sakura Viewing.
The past few years have shown Sakura blossoms coming even earlier than before, as the temperature in Tokyo has been getting warmer earlier, as it has in other places across Japan. In the past, cherry blossom viewings may be held as late as mid April, but now they’re almost always earlier.
When to visit sakura blossoms?
Late March to early April! Check the weather for a week where temperatures will be in the 70s (21 – 24 celsius) for about a week, and that will likely be prime-time for blossom viewing!
Every city in Japan has different ideal blossom viewing times, and these are often announced and updated by the local prefecture governments. In Northern Japan you will have to go see the blossoms later than you would in Southern Japan.
Some people are even so dedicated that they travel from the south of Japan to the north just to track the blossoms through the country.
Why are there cherry blossoms outside of Japan?
This is a great question and has a pretty interesting answer. Many people know that China often uses pandas as a form of diplomacy, gifting them to countries they have friendly relations with, where they can be shown off in zoos.
Japan’s cherry blossom trees are also often a symbol of friendly relations – but with Japan. Many of the cherry blossoms in foreign cities outside of Japan have been planted as symbols of friendship and unity with Japan (or with a specific sister city in Japan).
The first cherry trees planted in the United States as a symbol of Japanese friendship originated in 1912 as a gift from the People of Japan (technically, the government of Japan, in its work extending international relations). The trees given were meant to symbolize the fleeting nature of human life and well as continuously changing and growing culture, representing Japan. More than a thousand trees along the Potomac River were given in the name of the City of Tokyo.
Cherry blossom trees can also be found in great numbers in Brazil, which has the second largest Japanese population outside of Japan in the entire world, with over a million people of Japanese ancestry in Brazil. Most of the immigrants brought seedlings of cherry trees with them when they moved. Cities such as Garca and Campos do Jordao have annual festivals celebrating the blooming of the trees that coincide with celebrations of Japanese culture.