What is HANAMI?
HANAMI is a gathering of Japanese friends, families, and colleagues under cherry blossoms to appreciate their beauty while eating and drinking. HANAMI is said to have originated among the nobles of the Nara Period (710 - 794) as the pastime of appreciating plum trees. Later, in the Heian Period (794 - 1185), the tradition of “Cherry Blossom Viewing” as we know it today was established. The blossoming of the cherry petals takes only about two weeks, at most. The brief, recurring, beautiful process from the opening of the buds to the shedding of the petals evokes fleetingness of life. The grace of the flowers as they show themselves and quickly vanish has been universally loved as a motif embodying Japan's unique sense of beauty.
A typical HANAMI gathering used to be held with “HANAMI Dango” and “HANAMI Boxed Lunches,” but the association of the event with drinking parties has steadily grown since the Showa Period. HANAMI gatherings at night, “YOZAKURA,” are now regarded as the best parties. All too often nowadays, people describe springtime drinking celebrations as “HANAMI” even when no cherry blossoms are to be seen.
OHANAMI at Inokashira Park
Inokashira Park is a prominent HANAMI spot in Tokyo. The park has about 500 cherry trees, half of them picturesquely placed around the perimeter of Inokashira Pond. The cherry branches around the pond bow under the weight of the petals in full bloom, nearly skimming the water surface. The scene is magnificent.
The view from Nanai-Bashi Bridge spanning over the center of the pond is encircled with pond-front blossoms of many varieties, including the prominent Yoshino and Double cherry blossoms. If you rent one of the small boats, you can immerse yourself in constellations of color from the fallen petals on the pond surface.
Various kinds of cherries are planted in “Nishi-En” to the southwest of the pond. The Kawazu Zakura cherries in the park begin to bloom earlier than most varieties, from mid-February, and continue blooming up to mid-April. For this reason, the HANAMI season lasts longer at Inokashira Park than elsewhere.
(Reference: Official Homepage of Mitaka City Office)
Cherry Tunnel in full illumination
The cherry trees along a 1.2-kilometer stretch of Musashino City Road 17 (Chuo-Dori) are spectacularly illuminated at the yearly “Cherry Tunnel” event held on a spring evening when the flowers reach full bloom.
March 24 (Sat.) ~ April 8 (Sun.), 2018; 18:00 ~ 21:00
■ City Road 17 (Chuo-Dori): From Musashino Chuo Crossing up to Municipal Pool-MAE Crossing
■ Musashino City Road 212 (Road between the City Office and Clean Center): From Musashino City Office, MAE Crossing up to City Office, URA Crossing