Spring is in the air! When spring arrives in Japan, there are many exciting things to look forward to. The days are sunnier and longer, the weather starts to warm up, school starts, and there are many people who see it as a time to turn over a new leaf with the change in seasons. Perhaps the thing that most people in Japan look forward to in spring, though, is hanami, the flower-viewing festivals.
Seriously, ask any Japanese person what’s the first thing they think of when you say “spring,” and sakura (cherry blossoms) will be the first word to jump out of their mouth. These pink and white flowers are symbols of spring. They usually bloom at the end of March through April, and only for a very short time. Cherry blossoms are a gorgeous sight to behold, and their beauty is appreciated even more because of their short life.
Hanami is a pretty big deal in Japan, with news outlets reporting on the blooming forecast by region, and people planning get-togethers and grand feasts around it. Some people will even set out plastic sheets under the trees, or camp out the day before to claim a prime viewing spot!
And, of course, food goes hand-in-hand with flower viewings. These snacks are inspired by spring in many ways, visually by color or even made with seasonal ingredients like sakura petals themselves.
Unfortunately this year, there isn’t much feasting with friends happening as we all do our part to social distance. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little hanami into your home! Video chat with friends, gather some snacks and drinks, open a window for fresh air and you’re 90% of the way there!
Ready to explore traditional hanami food and some Japanese snacks to celebrate spring?