A Cherry Blossom Picnic
Having lived in Japan, we fell in love with their spring tradition of o-hanami, a spring picnic under the cherry blossoms (sakura). In late March and early April, in parks, gardens and along river banks around Kyoto, famed for its cherry blossom, you would find o-hanami in full swing. Grandparents and grandchildren. Mums and dads. Lovers. Lots of students. Many in traditional kimonos. All out to celebrate the season’s snow-petal beauty with mochi (rice cakes), plum wine, rice balls…
The Japanese are so dedicated to the cherry blossoms (and autumn leaves) that there are whole magazines dedicated to the best places to spot them, and the weather forecast has a special section predicting and showing the height of the natural displays. The most famous tree in one of the main parks is reputed to be many hundreds of years old. It is a truly a national obsession, and shows a very romantic side to the Japanese temperament.
So now we have our own garden with not one but two cherry trees in, we have been watching in anticipation as the buds swelled, and now we have full blossom. In celebration, our cherry blossom fairy now takes pride of place on the nature table.
We have been learning the traditional Japanese cherry blossom song Sakura in preparation for the picnic. (See here for a link to the tune).
Let’s look, at last!