Sakura is one of the magic words for these days in Japan. And probably one of the most said as well. Not only for those who speak Japanese but also for those who don't speak the local language but are currently here during the early spring.
Sakura means cherry blossom. Which also means that everything changes in Japan. Every little part of the country starts to wake up and sooner or later it will be reached by the beautiful light pink wave that gets stronger, darker and even more beautiful, if that is even possible, with the days.
The magic about Sakura is not only the beauty of the flowers but also the beauty of going out, getting closer to nature, walking around without a specific plan, spending hours sat under a tree, and the beauty of finding yourself in love. Why not? In love with your own moment and your own life.
Sakura leads me to Hanami, which is the art of contemplating the flowers. “Hana” means flower and “Mi or Mimasu” is the verb to see. And this festival is also the celebration and appreciation of human life because life, as the cherry blossom tree is known for its short but brilliant blooming season.
This is my third spring in Tokyo and I really do not care much if I am by myself, with friends, with coworkers or even with strangers around, I just know that this is the perfect moment for a picnic while Hanami.
Not too cold, not too hot, too buggy or too rainy and surrounded by beautiful and unique flowers. Meaning that is the perfect picnic season!
Is this your first spring in Tokyo? I would recommend you some of the following places for a picnic while Hanami. I am sure you won´t be disappointed:
Photo : Yuichi Sakuraba on FlickrA five-minute walk from Harajuku Station will lead you to over 600 cherry trees. Best moment to visit: early April
Photo : Guilhem Vellut on FlickrA ten-minute walk from Shinjuku Station and you will be able to see over a thousand cherry trees of over a dozen varieties. Thanks to the early and late blooming trees, this is a great place for those who miss the main season for a few weeks. Please note that is closed on Mondays. From Tuesdays to Sundays is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm. Important information: only non alcoholic drinks are allowed inside the park
Photo : Usodesita on FlickrOnly a few steps from Ueno Station and you will be surrounded by a lot of cherry trees. This park is so famous that specially during the weekends can get very crowded and noisy. Best moment to visit: end of March and early April.
Photo : Guilhem Vellut on FlickrA few meters from Asakusa Station you will see trees raising among the buildings and along the Sumida River. Here I experienced my first Hanami and I do not think I could ever forget it. Stunning views with the Tokyo Sky Tree as a witness.
Are you ready for a perfect picnic?
If you are under a cherry tree with some tasty goodies, at least for a couple of hours, turn off your phone, disconnect from everyone else, and take the risk to find your own soul, your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams….
Breath deeply, relax, make plans and arrange an appointment with yourself for your next picnic while Hanami, an opportunity that only the early spring will give you. Don’t waste it!
And as Oscar Wilde said: …“With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy”…