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.
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】1
- Japanese model builder wins at Gundam, makes a 3D model look like a flat drawing2
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!3
- Love curry? Why not wear it around your neck? Plastic food neckpieces get netizens talking4
- This old Nintendo game quadrupled in price in just a week5
- The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping6
- Scope out which love hotel to take your next date to right now in Google Street View7
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”8
- Super generous Japanese megastore keeps boxes of change at register for you to use9
- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber10
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours1
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】2
- Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer3
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!4
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute5
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters6
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick7
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world8
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so9
- Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises5
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit6
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make7
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message8
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】9
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher3
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea10
- The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping
- Scope out which love hotel to take your next date to right now in Google Street View
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”
- Super generous Japanese megastore keeps boxes of change at register for you to use
- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so
- Shimotsuki Matsuri: The extraordinary winter festival that inspired Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’
- Tokyo adding free Wi-Fi to 143 subway stations for foreign travelers
- Artist creates “PokeMonstrosities” that are the stuff of nightmares
- Mr. Hanko is here! Bringing life to your name stamp and joy to your office
- Creepy or cute? Feel the Panda Train’s intense gaze before sightseeing in resort town Shirahama
- “Hello Kitty Park” in China is set to open on New Year’s Day!
- Doting owner builds cosy kotatsu for cats, faces the sting of feline rejection【Photos】