It’s March already?! I can’t believe how fast time is flying! Here in Fukuoka, the weather is getting warmer (though there is still the occasional rain storm), vibrantly colored flowers are blooming in parks around the city, and best of all, cherry blossom (sakura) season is upon us! ?
The most wonderful feeling is walking around, turning a corner, and suddenly being met with a row of beautiful pink trees. Sakura season is such a special (though very short) period in Japan that I am trying to take in and enjoy as much of it as possible.
Today I ventured to two of Fukuoka’s famous cherry blossom spots (Nishi Park and Maizuru Park). I was a bit too early for optimal viewing though as only a few of the trees had flowers. Luckily I found a small patch of early bloomers whose canopy of pink I could enjoy from underneath.
Small flower petals fluttered down from above as little birds flitted in the branches. It was beautiful! In about a week, these parks will be completely transformed with blossoms, so I just have to be patient and wait a little bit longer…
There are many varieties of cherry blossom trees that grow in Japan, each with their unique color, petal formation, and blooming schedule. My favorite trees are the bright pink ones, though the most common is the Somei-yoshino variety known for its white petals and faint hues of pink. The anticipation of the beauty that comes when sakura trees reach their full bloom is what makes the cherry blossom season so exciting.
On the flip side, just as quickly as the flowers bloom, they also disappear – within four days to two weeks. Due to this fleeting nature, cherry blossoms have come to symbolize the transient ephemerality of life.
The most popular activity to do during cherry blossom season is hanami or cherry blossom viewing! This is a festive time where friends and families picnic together under the trees and consume bentos (packaged lunch sets) and (usually) alcohol. Many times there is more eating and drinking than actual flower viewing ?.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, this year’s hanami is discouraged. Even without large picnics, luckily we can still enjoy the trees around!
The trees aren’t the only things transforming, shops and stores are too! The cherry blossom excitement is big- seasonal sakura flavored foods and drinks have taken over restaurant menus and products, and cherry blossom decorations can be spotted everywhere you look. I enjoyed a sakura crunch latte in a local cafe – it was pretty and delicious!
I also sampled a whipped sakura and matcha cream mochi donut from the popular donut chain, Mister Donut. (A little too sweet for me, but very unique!)
I am grateful to be able to experience Japan’s cherry blossom season this year and am eager to see how the city transforms in full bloom. Fingers crossed for good weather and a long viewing period!
Looking for more flower love? Be sure to check out these other blog posts about Japan’s breathtaking nature!
- Spring and Summer Flower Guide: Fukuoka, Japan | Fukuoka – The best times and places to see flora in Fukuoka!
- Kawachi Wisteria Garden | Fukuoka – Breathtaking purple, magenta, and white archways of hanging wisteria flowers.
- Weekend in Yanagawa: Hina-matsuri, Canal Punting, and Cherry Blossoms | Yanagawa – Breathtaking cherry blossoms and canals.
- Nanohana Fields in Fukuoka, 菜の花 | Fukuoka – Fields of bright yellow mustard greens