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.”
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.
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time1
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”2
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin3
- Team Japan’s goalkeeper is awfully good at catching cats4
- How many do you know? 12 delicious foods in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores5
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China6
- Mexican apparel company offers sweet Dragon Ball Z sneakers7
- Unreal “animation dancer” makes Japanese salarymen breakdance with the power of magic sunglasses8
- Ritzy Japanese cop breaks Rolex wristwatch during arrest, sends suspect US$6,000 repair bill9
- Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay2
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time3
- Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens4
- Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo5
- Netizens hatch adorable baby birds from supermarket eggs, provide evidence6
- Secret backmasked message found hidden in Dragon Ball Z ending song7
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin8
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China9
- Is “Ago-kui” the next “Kabe-don”?10
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing1
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”2
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】3
- Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones4
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay5
- Ugly-cute makeup genius feeds off negative troll comments on Twitter6
- “Malaysian girl holding things” is our new favourite Instagram account 【Photos】7
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time8
- Teacher draws over students’ doodles to make red pen masterpieces9
- Photos of people lining up outside of the Sapporo Apple Store make us feel positively frozen10
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”1
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher2
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood3
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin4
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours5
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】6
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school7
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”8
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing9
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises10
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China
- Mexican apparel company offers sweet Dragon Ball Z sneakers
- Unreal “animation dancer” makes Japanese salarymen breakdance with the power of magic sunglasses
- Ritzy Japanese cop breaks Rolex wristwatch during arrest, sends suspect US$6,000 repair bill
- Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu
- We swear you’ve never seen Tokyo like this before 【Video】
- The detail on these Japanese dollhouses is amazing!
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China
- PS4 20th Anniversary edition console sells at auction for jaw-dropping price
- Autistic teen artist creates masterful sketches with help of photographic memory
- The City of Angels is now the City of Samurai with Los Angeles museum’s awesome armor exhibition
- Japanese granny attempts to trash treasure trove of old photographs, is thwarted by grandkids
- For grown-ups only! Ghibli Museum’s Straw Hat Cafe is offering “Valley of the Wind” beer