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Ohanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

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Hanami is an ancient Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of fleeting flowers. Flowers here refer specifically to cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms bloom throughout Japan from late March to early May. In Okinawa, the warmest part of Japan, cherry blossoms begin to bloom as early as February.

Every year, the Japan Meteorological Agency announces the “cherry blossom front”. Since the cherry blossoms bloom only a week or two apart, people planning to view cherry blossoms are glued to the weather forecast section of TV programs every day.

In modern Japan, hanami is usually held during the day or at night, with a party under the cherry blossoms. In particular, nighttime hanami is known as “yozakura,”(夜桜). In recent years, people have refrained from doing so due to the Corona disaster, but many places usually hang temporary lanterns for nighttime cherry blossom viewing.

Foods traditionally associated with flower viewing are…
– Hanami-dango (Tricolor sweet dumplings on sticks)
– Sakuramochi (Cherry blossom rice dumplings with bean paste on the inside, wrapped in an edible pickled cherry leaf)
– O-hanami-bento (Traditional Flower-Viewing lunch box)

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