Cherry Blossoms picture 1
Cherry blossoms picture 2
Cherry blossoms picture 3
Cherry blossoms picture 4
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cherry blossom (sakura) is Japan's unofficial national flower. It has been
celebrated for many centuries and takes a very prominent position in
are many dozens of different cherry tree varieties in Japan, most of which
bloom for just a couple of days in spring. The Japanese celebrate that
time of the year with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties under
the blooming trees.
Hanami literally means
"flower viewing", however, it commonly refers only to cherry
blossom viewing. Cherry blossom viewing is easy: Simply enjoy the
intensity of the many blossoms by looking at a single tree or a group of
trees. From a distance, the trees appear as beautiful clouds, while the
beauty of single blossoms can be enjoyed from a close distance.
Hanami can be just a
stroll in the park, but it traditionally also involves a picnic party
under the blooming trees. Hanami parties have been held in Japan for many
centuries, and today are held in public and private gardens and parks
across the country. Famous
cherry blossom spots can get very crowded, and the best picnic spots
are hardly fought after.
In especially popular
places it is common practice to reserve a picnic spot long before the
party is held. The typical praxis is to spread one's picnic sheet early in
the morning and either mark it with the group's name and party's starting
time or to have somebody positioned there during the whole day until the
rest of the group arrives after work.
do they bloom?
most important factor that determines the blooming time of cherry trees is
the geographical location. Basically, the milder the climate, the earlier
the blossoms open.
Japan's southern, subtropical islands of Okinawa,
cherry blossoms open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido,
they bloom as late as May. In most major cities in between, including Tokyo,
the cherry blossom season typically takes place around the end of March
and beginning of April (see table below).
the blooming time differs from year to year depending on the weather. If
the weather during the months and weeks preceding the cherry
blossom season is mild, blossoms will open early. If it is
cold, blossoms will open later. From year to year, the start of the
blooming season can vary by as much as plus/minus two weeks.
long do they bloom?
blossom season is relatively short. Full bloom (mankai) is
usually reached within about one week after the opening of the first
blossoms (kaika). Another week later, the blooming peak is over and the
blossoms are falling from the trees. Strong wind and rain can cut the
blooming season even shorter.
year, the Meteorological Agency and the media is closely following the so
called "cherry blossom front", as it slowly moves northern
wards. Note, that the front indicates the opening of the first blossoms (kaika)
rather than the arrival of full bloom (mankai).
course, not every tree in a city opens on the same day, as trees in
shadowy places, for example, bloom several days later than trees in sunny
places. That is, why a set of representative sample trees is selected to
define the date of kaika (the opening of the first blossoms) for a whole
city. In Tokyo, the sample trees are located at Yasukuni
dates below indicate the average dates on which cherry trees open their
first blossoms for selected cities, and the dates on which they opened in
2003 and 2004. Remember that full bloom is usually reached within about
one week from the date the first blossoms have opened.
data is according to the Japan Meteorological Agency and refers to Somei
Yoshino cherry trees, except in the case of Sapporo (Ezoyamazakura)
and Naha (Hikanzakura).
large majority of cherry trees in Japan are of the Somei Yoshino and
Yamazakura varieties. But in total, over one hundred cherry
tree varieties can be found in Japan.
are several characteristics that differ between the various cherry tree
varieties. Some of the obvious ones, that can also be easily recognized by
beginners, are listed below:
of the blossoms: