Cherry Blossoms (SAKURA) in Japan
Cherry blossoms (SAKURA) are Japan's unofficial national flower, formerly called tree flower (KONOHA). In Japan's early history it ranked second after plum blossoms (UME). Cherry blossoms overtook plum blossoms approximately after the eighth century. In Chinese, the single character for flower is used to represent plum blossoms, while in Japanese, character for flower signifies cherry blossoms.
Cherry trees are planted in many places, and wherever you go, flowers are in bloom only for a short period of time. Most unfortunately, they bloom in spring when the weather is unpredictable, and sudden merciless rains often scatter away the petals of pale pink.
Due to Japan's long geographical north-south extension, cherry blossoms bloom during different times of spring throughout the country, starting from Okinawa moves gradually northward and ends its journey in Hokkaido. The weather bureau issues forecasts of where the "cherry-blossom front (SAKURA ZENSEN)" is moving.
Cherry blossom viewing began in ancient times. Since the Heian Period (794 to 1185) flower viewing was popular among the aristocrats who recited poetry under the trees in full bloom.
In the Azuchi Momoyama Period (1568-1600) and the Edo period (1603-1868) cherry blossom viewing spread out to the general public.
Japanese public like cherry blossoms because shapes and colors of their petals represent people's ideal notions of purity and simplicity. Fragile and ephemeral flowers are scattered away in gust of winds just a few days after in the full bloom. There are so many sites around the country that are famous for their spectacular blossoms that one cannot visit to admire all cherry blossoms sites in his/her lifetime.
There are dozens of different varieties of cherry blossoms in Japan, most of which bloom for just a couple of days in spring. Many of the cherry trees in famous viewing spot are cultivated, but wild cherry blossoms are also admired.
Cherry Blossom Viewing (Sakura-no-toorinuke) in Japan Mint
Every year, during cherry blossom time around the middle of April, the premises of Japan Mint along the entire "Yodo" riverside lane, a full length of 560m, is opened to the public for one week for cherry blossom viewing.
Around two weeks prior to the Cherry Blossom Viewing (Sakura-no-toorinuke) in Japan Mint, we are impressed to see the "Okawa" river charmingly change – lined with thousands of cherry trees as far as we can see in either direction.
Cherry blossoms really are breathtaking. We are particularly struck by the subtle variations in color.
Cherry blossoms are mainly from Kyoto, Tokyo and Hokkaido. Only one variety, "TAIHAKU" came back from foreign soil, thanks to the real gentleman of the UK.