The true arrival of Spring in Japan is marked by one event above all others – hanami! Cherry Blossom viewing may be an age old Japanese tradition, but unlike many other traditions, it shows no signs of fading. Pretty much every person that you meet in Japan – young, old, and anywhere in between – loves to get out and view beautiful cherry blossoms, see the smiling faces and hear the laughter of friends and strangers, eat good food and drink, and just generally have fun and celebrate how great life can be.
In the wake of the devastating earthquake which hit Japan on March 11, 2011, this hanami has taken on some additional importance to many people. It’s given those who were shaken up a chance to celebrate a new beginning and say, “We’re down, but not out – let’s keep moving forward and work toward a brighter future together!” A few of Japan’s more grumpy politicians suggested that hanami may not be appropriate this year because of the earthquake, but judging by the large crowds at various Tokyo parks, it looks like most residents rejected that idea and opted instead to look on the bright side and make an effort to go on with their lives, even when bad things happen.
Because of the trouble in Japan, we know that many foreigners were forced to cancel trips to see the cherry blossoms in person this year. We hope that you are able to reschedule and have your own hanami in Japan next year, but in the meantime we wanted to share some photos with you. These pictures were taken last week in Nakameguro, along the Nakameguro River. It’s not the best place for a traditional hanami because it’s not an open park setting, but it’s one of the most beautiful places in the city to view cherry blossoms – and there are food (and wine) vendors all along the river. It’s a very nice atmosphere and we highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in Tokyo during cherry blossom season.
Enjoy the Nakameguro cherry blossom pictures and remember that you can click on any of them to see bigger versions – and these photos do look better big. Happy hanami everyone!
Click any of the cherry blossom pictures to see them in high resolution!