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Spring is arriving earlier and earlier every year it seems. Normally Instagram is overflowing with blossom photos, each more beautiful than the other. This year with the corona virus a lot less... In previous springs in Japan they went en masse to the parks and temple gardens to celebrate under the sakura blossoms. Let's take a moment to reflect on this beautiful display of nature. Where does this fascination come from and what do they usually do under those trees?

It was sometime in early spring, I think, during my year in Nagasaki, that my Japanese friends took me to admire the blossoms. I didn't fully understand the excitement until I arrived at Saikaibashi park. There were almost 1,000 cherry blossom trees in full bloom, what a wonderful sight the sea of ​​pink blossom petals was. Once you have enjoyed such an overwhelming display of flowers, you will understand the Japanese love for the sakura much better!

What is sakura?

Sakura, the Japanese name for cherry blossom, are the flowers of the Prunus. Better said of the Prunus Serrulata and don't let the cherries in the name fool you, because this blossom variety has nothing to do with that. I read that they are native to the Himalayas, but now you can find them all over the Northern Hemisphere. People from Europe to Japan, China, Korea, Canada and the United States enjoy this beautiful blossom. Only in Japan have they elevated this enjoyment to a true art.

Blossom splendor in Japanese gardens and parks

There are as many as 100 different types of sakura in Japan. Most trees bear light pink and white blossoms, with five leaves that have a dent at the top. But there are also variants that have many more leaves.

The flowering time of sakura is very short, only a few days in early spring. And because it is of the utmost importance that you know exactly where and when the trees bloom at their best, there is a real “Sakura Weather Forecast”. The sakura front, which is the name for the advance of the blossom from south to north Japan, is carefully mapped with dates and everything.

Hanami: Everything passes

Hanami literally means “flower viewing” and the Japanese prefer to do this with a nice picnic under the blossom trees. The picnic baskets are mainly filled with: chirashizushi (sushi rice with the ingredients sprinkled on top), inarizushi (tofu bags filled with sushi rice) and sakura mochi (rice cakes filled with sweet beans).

Hanami began in the Heian period (794-1192). The blossoms symbolize transience, everything in life is temporary and that is why we should enjoy it to the fullest. That all sounds a bit melancholic, but the blossom petals also convey the feeling of change, nothing has to stay as it is. And that in turn gives hope in sad periods.

A delicious plate of chirashizushi (sushi rice with the ingredients sprinkled over it)

Sakura kirigami DIY download for you

If you want to bring a bit of Japanese spring into your home, I have a very nice DIY for you here. A garland of cherry blossom petals, which you fold and cut out. As soon as scissors are involved, you call such a folding project “kirigami”. It takes some practice, but before you know it you have made a whole mountain and you can easily thread it onto a thread with a thick needle.

S pecially for you, this Roppongi sakura kirigami tutorial. Click here & download and make a cheerful garland.

Keep an eye on the Roppongi blog for beautiful Japan DIYs , recipes, traditions, travel tips and other nice Japan facts. You will be amazed at how fun and beautiful Japan is!

Sakura in everyday life

The chrysanthemum is actually the official flower of the country, also a symbol of the imperial court, but the image of the sakura really takes on iconic forms! For centuries, sakura trees and blossom petals have been featured in Japan's history, culture and daily life.

Paintings, woodcuts, folding screens and scrolls - you name it, they depict famous places where sakura blooms. These places are, for example, at the foot of Mount Fuji, at Buddhist temples, at Himeji Castle and in Yoshino Park. Nowadays there are even anime and manga in this spring theme and the blossom petal is also a common tattoo image. In applied art you encounter sakura on tableware, kimono, bento and paper.

The leaves and buds of the sakura are edible and can be found pickled in traditional confectionery, but also as tea.

This is Mount Fuji -富士山 - with its 3776 meters it is the highest mountain in Japan (also a volcano)

More beautiful sakura from Japan 🌸

It won't surprise you that you can buy a lot of sakura beauty at Roppongi , the Dutch online go-to for tips, stories, great offers, recipes and news from Japan. Make it spring!

💬 Tell me, are you going to try this too?


Ingrid Beijer - Roppongi

The author: Ingrid Beyer

Ingrid from Happlify crew member Roppongi is a far too modest Japan expert who can tell you all the ins and outs. Roppongi is the webshop for lovers of Japan, design, good food, tea and DIY. Visit Roppongi and the blog regularly for the quickest trip to Japan. Ingrid's blog posts >

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