Cherry Blossom Anatomy

Below are words for parts of a cherry blossom tree, from flowers to the trunk.

桜 Sakura (Cherry Blossom)

Japanese for cherry blossom. In Japanese, the word for cherry is sakuranbo, which is the first part of the word for cherry. The kanji is the same, too. In modern day Japan, sakuranbo is usually written in katakana, which gives the flower version full use of the sakura kanji.

花桜 Hana-zakura (cherry blossom flower)

This is just another way of saying cherry blossom.

桜木 Sakura-gi (Sakura tree)

The word for tree is ki, but when joined together, it becomes gi.

葉桜 Hazakura (Sakura tree leaves)

When the cherry blossom petals have dropped and are replaced by green leaves, the word is hazakura.

Cherry Blossom Sighting

These are words for the stages of cherry blossoms blooming. From full bloom to just budding.

初桜 Hatsu-zakura (First cherry blossom)

The first cherry blossom sighting of the season. An example phrase is, “ara, hatsu-sakura-da.Ooh, it’s the first cherry blossom of the year.

一本桜 Ippon-zakura (Single cherry blossom tree)

A singular cherry blossom tree.

満開 Mankai (Full bloom)

When sakura has reached its fully bloomed state, when the pictures and videos arguably look the best, it’s called mankai.

桜雲 Ou-un (Snow-like cherry blossoms)

When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, from far away it looks like the tree is covered in snow.

徒桜 Ada-zakura (Easily scattered cherry blossoms)

The phrase ada-zakura refers to cherry blossoms that falls easily. It lends itself to a number of proverbs, too. Namely about fickleness and substance.

山桜 Yama-zakura (Sakura on a mountain)

The special word for cherry blossoms which bloom on a mountain is yama-zakura. The word can also be used for a species of late-blooming cherry blossoms and is a type of famous whiskey.

Cherry Blossom Timing

There are many different words to describe the beauty of cherry blossoms at each particular moment.

朝桜 Asa-zakura (Morning cherry blossom)

When cherry blossoms are fresh and dewy in the morning.

花あかり Hana-akari (Flower light)

Even when it is dark outside, the vivid colours of the sakura brighten up the evening.

桜吹雪 Sakura-fubuki (Falling snow)

When sakura petals fall off the tree, it looks like snow is falling, or even a snowstorm.

残桜 Zan-ou (Flowers hanging on after the rest have dropped)

Zan, the kanji for ‘remain,’ and ‘ou,’ the kanji for sakura, come together to make a word that indicates the sparse blooming of flowers that are still hanging, after they have bloomed.

Cherry Blossom Things

There are some words that refer to material things which are born out of cherry blossom appreciation.

桜人 Sakura-bito (Cherry blossom lover)

This refers to someone who is obsessed with cherry blossoms. You know the type, the ones that appear around March. Those with cherry blossom stationery, who drink only cherry blossom flavored drinks and eat only sakura mochi and only outside under cherry blossom trees.

桜餅 Sakura-Mochi (sakura rice-cake)

There are special sakura wagashi (Japanese sweets) around cherry blossom time. Sakura mochi are cute little pink sakura-flavored mochi rice cakes, filled with red bean paste and half-wrapped with a pickled cherry blossom leaf. They are a delicious contrast between salt and sweet.

花見団子 Hanami-Dango (Tricolor dango)

Hanami dango are perfectly tinted with cherry blossom colors for a reason. Take them to picnics and marvel at how well the colors match the trees.

Advanced Phrases

When you’ve mastered the above, it’s time to move onto the ones that even some native speakers will find new.

桜花爛漫 Oukaran-man (Full-blooming cherry blossoms everywhere)

The connotation with this phrase is that the cherry blossoms are a little unruly, going everywhere. In a good way, though.

桜梅桃李 Oubaitou-ri (Each flower is different)

This has a proverb feel to it, containing the kanji for (left to right) cherry blossom, plum blossom and peach blossom, finished with a ‘season’ hit. The meaning is that each flower is beautiful in its own way. Each has its own season to shine, and we will too.


Chez Bloz (gangster cherry blossom)

Why should all the words be Japanese? Here’s our favorite non-Japanese word for cherry blossom, used by cool kids on message boards.