March and April are Hanami Season in Japan!
Hanami means Flower Viewing. The Hanami custom has been around for quite a long time in Japan. It is said to have started around the Nara Period(710~794)(according to Wiki.) Sakura (also known as Cherry Blossoms) are usualy in bloom between March to the beginning of May. The number of blossom days varies depending on the weather and where you live.
So, what exactly do you do at Hanami? Basically, you go outside and sit under the beautiful pink cherry blossoms. You chat with your friends, co-workers, eat delicious foods and enjoy a good drink! What do you need to prepare for your hanami event?
1. Check the blossom forecast. This forecast tells you the dates of when the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom in your area. Also, check the weather forecast for the dates you are planning to go Hanami viewing. Here is a site to check your local Hanami forecast.
2. Find a nice place to view cherry blossoms. You may have to someone reserve a place for your group (Somebody needs to go to the spot earlier and spread a tarp to reserve the spot. It’s really hard to find a good spot during busy hanami season). If you are planning to go there at night, you should check out the lights or lanterns hung amongst the cherry trees. Here is a site you can check popular Hanami sites. (in Japanese)
3. Bring extra tarps, blankets, and clothes to keep you warm. The temperature may suddenly fall at night.
4. Ask your friends to bring their own plates and cups to avoid creating garage. If it is hard, then buy paper plates, cups and plastic utensils, so you can clean them easily after you finish Hanami. It is essential to buy or prepare many Yummy foods, such as bento boxes, snacks and drinks. In Japan, you can find really good bento boxes on the lowest floor of department stores. They are often a little pricy, but they are so good! And yes, you can drink alcohol outside in Japan! Don’t forget to bring some garage bags to clean the spots you visit. The convenience stores close to the Hanami viewing spots are usually very busy, so be sure to obtain the necessary items somewhere beforehand to avoid the crowds.
5. It is recommend to bring some type of card game or other easy to play game to enjoy with your friends.
6. Let’s have fun with your friends, family or co-workers!