Hanami is a traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, particularly cherry blossoms or sakura, which bloom in Japan during the spring season. It is a centuries-old tradition that dates back to the Nara period (710-794) when it was customary for aristocrats to hold flower-viewing parties under the sakura trees.
Hanami is celebrated all over Japan, and people usually gather in public parks or gardens, where the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. They set up picnics and enjoy food and drinks while admiring the beauty of the flowers. The atmosphere is festive, and many people wear traditional Japanese clothing, such as kimonos.
The sakura trees only bloom for a short period, usually for about a week or two, and the exact timing of the blossoming varies from year to year depending on the weather conditions. Therefore, the Japanese have a tradition of tracking the sakura front, which refers to the timing of the cherry blossom season, and they eagerly await the arrival of the blossoms.
In addition to cherry blossoms, hanami can also refer to the enjoyment of other flowers such as plum blossoms, wisteria, and azaleas. These flowers also have their own specific blooming seasons, and people often hold similar flower-viewing parties to celebrate their beauty.
Overall, hanami is an important cultural event in Japan that celebrates the arrival of spring and the beauty of nature. It is a time for people to come together, appreciate the fleeting beauty of the flowers, and enjoy the company of friends and family.