Cherry blossom viewing
This might not be the best year to talk about the cherry blossoms, since, you know, everyone has been told to stay home and all. But since I had to skip last year, I’m going to do it anyway.
Cherry blossom viewing is one of the most popular traditions among Japanese people, and the blossoms are also one of the main tourist attractions in Japan. While last year cherry blossom events were heavily discouraged, this year we at least have the opportunity to go out and see them, if only briefly or while walking.
While the purpose of cherry blossom viewing is to, well, see the cherry blossoms, it is in essence the perfect excuse to have a picnic and get wasted with friends. People go to the major parks early in the morning just to find a space to put their tarp or picnic blanket, before the parks get ridiculously crowded — which doesn’t take long. By lunch time, the areas near the cherry blossoms have become full-blown daytime parties, with thousands of people enjoying the view, their food and their drinks with friends, family, or coworkers.
Cheery blossom parties are quite unique in that you’ll see Japanese people at their most uninhibited selves, outside of izakayas and other night life locales, so they are also good opportunities to mingle with and chat up other (probably drunk) people.
This year it’s not going to be quite the same, but while you won’t be able to have a picnic, you’ll at least be able to walk around the blossoms, which, let’s not forget, are the main event. As beautiful as it is to get drunk outdoors before lunch time, the blossoms are beautiful in their own right.
One of my favorite places for cherry blossom viewing is Naka-Meguro. The river here is adorned with hundreds of cherry trees on both sides, and when the petals fall the river carries so many that it turns pink. There isn’t much space for a picnic, but a stroll along the river is something not to miss. It’s particularly beautiful at night, and there are often food stalls along the way so that you can have a snack while enjoying the view. It might be too crowded this year, but definitely add it to your bucket list.
Cherry blossom viewing is one of my favorite Japanese traditions, and I can’t wait till we’re able to we’re able to celebrate the event in its full glory. Maybe next year.
Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
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