As our readers may be well aware, we Japanese have a passion for the sakura, or cherry trees, turning it into a huge social event when they’re in bloom each spring, even though they last for only about a week. We’re also quite fond of capybaras, as you can tell from the way we delight in pampering them in hot spring baths, and also creating mascot characters out of them as well. Well, we’re right in the middle of sakura season in Tokyo now, and we’ve found a cute little picture that combines these two seemingly unrelated subjects in a delightfully unexpected way. Yes, straight from Ueno, one of the most famous sakura-viewing areas in Tokyo, we bring to you this lovely photo that has captured the hearts of Japanese netizens and gives renewed meaning to the Japanese expression, “hana yori dango.”
- Philip Kendall
Mar 26, 2014
Spring has arrived in Japan, and that can mean only one thing: Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing parties! But what is it about hanami, and those pretty pink petals in general for that matter, that manages to capture the hearts and minds of so many?
Let’s take a look at a handful of videos that capture the mood of hanami season perfectly and see if we can pinpoint exactly what it is that makes the season so special!
In Japan, cherry blossoms, or sakura, are the rock stars of the plant kingdom. People obsess over them, their rare public appearances send fans into a frenzy, and the most devoted enthusiasts will even follow their flowering tour as it spreads from Japan’s warmer southern prefectures to the chillier north.
But just as some music acts draw larger crowds than others, these three sakura trees are considered to be the absolute peak of the pink-flowered crowd.
We may be well into October, but spring has already come to Miyagi Prefecture!
This summer saw record high temperatures throughout Japan, and the heat is only now starting to let up now, with some days still hitting 32 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit). Even more surprising though, was the blossoming of some cherry blossom trees – six months early – down in Miyagi, leading some to believe the high temperatures are to blame for the early open sakura flowers.
As April gets underway and Japan is finally able to thaw itself out, people across the country watch eagerly as a wave of delicate pink flowers gradually makes its way north, signalling the arrival of spring and — perhaps more importantly — the opportunity to have hanami drinking parties in public spaces. Apart from in a handful of especially sheltered areas, Tokyo’s cherry blossom has almost all disappeared from the branches above our heads, but for those in the north and naturally colder regions of Japan, the cherry blossom season is only just beginning.
Imagine their shock, however, when our friends in Nagano opened their curtains this morning to discover their towns covered in a thin layer of snow.
Ladies and gentlemen, winter in Japan is officially over. The thermal underwear and thick coats have been packed away and people, or at least those who don’t suffer from allergies, are throwing open their windows and letting the warm air in. It’s at this time of year that people rekindle their love of the outdoors and, armed with their blue plastic ground sheets and big bags of food, head to the park in order to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossom at its best.
The official name for this recreational activity is hanami (花見 lit. flower watching), but for many it’s simply a great opportunity to get together with friends to drink beer in the park. Still, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right, so provided you can find it in you to fight through the hordes of other like-minded sakura (cherry blossom) fans, there are three locations in particular that we highly recommend visiting.
- How to properly pronounce “Ghibli” and other fun trivia about the legendary animation studio1
- Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance2
- Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane3
- “I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】4
- McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】5
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】6
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films7
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!8
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】9
- Mysterious fire materializes inside Saitama train station on Tuesday10
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight1
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture2
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’5
- Vietnamese man, angry at wife, hatches bizarre revenge scheme: Cut off his own penis6
- What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?7
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】8
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker9
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight7
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】9
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!10
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】
- Mysterious fire materializes inside Saitama train station on Tuesday
- Sumida River Fireworks Festival aftermath: Not everyone in Japan has perfect manners after all
- Blogger’s silly video of types of dancers at Singapore clubs is trending in Japan
- That awkward moment when your phone rings on live TV… and then you make it worse 【Video】
- Baked Kit Kats now showing up in cakes, parfaits, and crepes across Japan
- Ryokan etiquette: What not to do when staying at a traditional Japanese inn
- From Sailor Moon to Freddy Krueger – The lovely cosplayers of Wonder Festival
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today
- Want a bit of One Piece magic? This real-looking Devil Fruit is sure to set the right mood!