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.
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked1
- Has a Japanese company found the fountain of youth? One man’s youthful skin suggests so2
- Poor little dog is driven into corner by owner’s terrifying new house guest3
- 35 fascinating photos of Korea from 100 years ago (before K-dramas took over Asia)4
- When first-try character bentos go wrong 【Photos】5
- We still don’t feel bad for you, Emperor: Photos of actors and their historical counterparts6
- Raw, frozen eggs are the new food trend in Japan, apparently7
- Video of guy giving pandas medicine is insanely cute, unless you’re the guy8
- Korean stylist’s secret to volumizing your hair in just five minutes! 【Video】9
- The Simpsons Halloween episode pays tribute to popular anime10
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls1
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked2
- Clever font sneaks pronunciation guide for English speakers into Japanese katakana characters3
- Awesome Air Umbrella from China keeps you dry with blasts of air4
- Why does Engrish happen in Japan?5
- The 10 best anime of the fall season, according to Japanese otaku6
- Somebody turned a Disney Channel cartoon into an anime and it’s pretty awesome7
- Beautiful old footage shows “God of Judo” Kyuzo Mifune gracefully defeat young challengers【Video】8
- Cat man from Kyushu walks nine cats in a stroller, draws crowds in Tokyo9
- Chinese woman’s catty comeback to Korean colleague gets netizens talking10
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】1
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China2
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked3
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea4
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls5
- Watch liquid turn into food at Japanese sample food factory 【Videos】6
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”7
- 10 things foreigners do that Japanese people find amusing8
- “Beautiful foreigner walking a polar bear” spotted at Shibuya’s famous crossing9
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】4
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China5
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later6
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons7
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady10
- We still don’t feel bad for you, Emperor: Photos of actors and their historical counterparts
- Raw, frozen eggs are the new food trend in Japan, apparently
- Video of guy giving pandas medicine is insanely cute, unless you’re the guy
- Korean stylist’s secret to volumizing your hair in just five minutes! 【Video】
- The Simpsons Halloween episode pays tribute to popular anime
- Robot rebellion begins with a cranky Roomba, Internet users too busy laughing to fight back
- The ultimate in smartphone accessories has hopped into the market
- Anime pregnancy tests: The latest otaku meme, and it’s not just for 2-D girls
- Rising star of Japanese horse racing is as ridiculously fast as he is comically scatterbrained
- Ten things we learned at USJ: A muggle’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Shocking footage of accident on Japanese highway reminds us of the fragility of life 【Video】
- The 10 best anime of the fall season, according to Japanese otaku
- Revealed! Japan’s top 10 handsome samurai【Photos】