The significance of the Cherry Blossoms (Prunus serrulata) in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life.
To truly appreciate the ‘hanami’ which literally translates as “looking as flowers”, you can follow the cherry blossom front as it sweeps from the south to the north of the archipelago. On 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.
The capital is a good starting point. A cult spot is Nakameguro, a creative neighbourhood south of Shibuya, with a cherry-tree-lined canal: perfect for an evening stroll, the trees are lit up with lanterns after dark while the canalside roads bustle with food and drinks stalls.
The flowers only bloom for around a week before the so-called “sakura snow” effect starts and they float sadly off the trees.
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