A Pink Explosion: Hanami in Yokkaichi, Mie
Sheer pink that is exquisitely pleasurable to look at. Hanami, or cherry blossom gatherings as they are called, is a time for celebration. Waving goodbye to the winter months of hibernation, these flowers' blossoms give new hopes and dreams across the country. With the sight of these flowers is the welcome to springtime, a new beginning and considered a good omen and a blessing. Sakura, the Japanese name for cherry blossom flowers is welcomed with a weeklong celebration in different parts of Japan. In Yokkaichi prefecture, along the river side and small bridge ways, these trees–which are bare the whole of winter–would sprout out their little buds at the beginning of April which give the local population a great reason to celebrate.
That Special Touch...
Yokkaichi City and its suburbs such as Akurugawa and Tomida in Mie prefecture do not hold back. For the Hanami gatherings, decorated lanterns are lit, placed so tentatively to shimmer and glimmer from evening to night each day. Every Hanami has food and drinks in abundance, shared with friends and family under the falling petals of a cherry blossom tree. The walkways are coated in pink blossoms that fall off the trees with the awesome sight of flowers decorating your feet. The reflection of these beautiful flowers are bounced off with nature’s own absolutely generous flower give away.
It's a food and dancing fiesta! Everyone is letting loose and having a good time from entrepreneurs to homemakers aligning their tiny shops along the street. Caramel apples, corn-on-cob, and many other provide a feast for everyone. Most Japanese are early birds, but during this festive time even children are given the freedom to experience this spring time celebration, which has a deep significance of tradition to them. Similar to the summer festivals, some Japanese opt to wear their kimonos. The chill of the night is still around, although warmth is around the corner, covering well would be a great idea.
The culture in Japan is inclusive and open-minded. In Yokkaichi at the spring festival Hanami you can also witness that many vendors are from other nationalities. Food variations and practices are shared during these exchange of cultures and palette testing. The organizers and committee members are open to having different vendors, which requires an early pre-booking and nominal fee. Walking into your community centers, or shiyaksho you can get more information on the rules, regulations and the protocols in relation to it. It comes with the opportunity for everyone to participate, to eat, drink and play or an opportunity to sell your goods.
Just The Beginning!
Many people look forward to this celebration. It’s almost like a carnival, minus the merry-go-around. There is no match to the beauty displayed. The soft glow of the lights, reflecting the flower is an illumination giving you a sense of peace. These small roads are closed for vehicles during this week, parking spaces are available close by. Everyone is happy, adults and children alike, running around celebrating another year; it’s a social gathering.
Get your hanami gear ready, sakura is not too far away.
How To Get There:
Train: From Osaka Station, ride the Osaka JR Loop Line to Tsuruhashi. Then take the Kintestsu Osaka Line bound for Nagoya. Ride until Kintetsu Tomida Station.