The delicate pink sakura, or cherry blossom, is associated primarily with the culture of its native Japan. These trees blossom throughout Japan every spring, but their beauty never gets old, so we’ve collected some of our favorite photos of this year’s cherry blossoms in Japan.
In Japan, the blossoming of the sakura begins in April, when students go back to school or people go back to work after the holidays. Japan’s national weather service even tracks the movement of the “sakura front,” which is an imaginary line that travels south-to-north every season and heralds the blooming of the sakura. This line’s progression in Japan is marked on this convenient sakura calendar.
The cherry blossom is tied to the ancient Japanese tradition of hanami, or picnicking under a sakura tree. The fact that the cherry blossom has heavily featured in ancient Japanese art has made it a staple of both historical and modern Japanese aesthetic. Although it is also native to China and Korea, it is generally associated primarily with Japanese culture, which is why it often accompanies the Japanese diaspora into cities around the world.
While sakuras are probably best viewed with a Japanese castle, mountain or garden in the backdrop, they might also be planted somewhere in your city as well. They provide a great opportunity to go have a beautiful springtime picnic!