The promise of spring is what gets us through the seemingly endless dreary winter days. The warmer weather has given way to the first cherry blossoms, signaling that spring has officially arrived.
Tokyo was bathed in soft colors of springtime as the iconic pink flowers bloomed for the first time. According to forecasters who keep watch on the trees this time of year, the first blossoms appeared at the capital’s central Yasukuni Shrine. Soon, trees across Tokyo will be in full bloom, turning parks into huge picnic areas for revelers—locals and foreigners alike.
This marks the beginning of sakura season when sakura hanami or flower viewing parties are usually held under the trees, one of the best ways to marvel at the iconic blossoms with a drink or two (or three or four) in hand.
“Cherry blossoms are a good gauge to let us know that spring is here,” a Japan Meteorological Agency official said.
Much of the west of the country is already in bloom, while the north will see flowers as late as May. Sakura season usually runs from late March to mid-April or even early May.
The frail blossoms last but for a few days, a reminder of a Buddhist belief of the fleeting nature of reality. Make sure to take in the once-in-a-year splendor of the cherry blossoms while it lasts.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: “Sakura – A cherry blossom @Tokyo” by Yoshikazu TAKADA/Flickr