Cherry Blossoms are like nature’s confetti, popping to celebrate the end of winter. Known as Sakura in Japan, their pink and white flowers only stay for a limited time (one to two weeks tops). It’s a reminder to cherish every moment and make the most of the present.
For that reason, the Japanese hold an annual Cherry Blossom Festival, where people gather to drink, eat, socialise and stare at the blossoms. Picnicking under these trees is a thousand-year-old custom known as “hanami”, which literally means “watching blossoms”.
Early scripture suggests the tradition was started by aristocrats in the Nara period (710-794). Today, people of all backgrounds gather under the trees, bringing warm cooked meals, alcohol, snacks and sweets. Although the blossoms themselves are edible, they taste like disappointment, so don’t bother.