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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogCherry Blossoms in Japan: Trivia That’ll Blow Your Mind!

Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Trivia That’ll Blow Your Mind!

James LauJames Lau
Published Time
Posted on 
March 30, 2023
Modified Time
Updated last 
March 30, 2023
Cherry blossoms in Japan next to Tokyo Skytree.

Cherry blossoms in Japan are one of the most iconic symbols worldwide. With its delicate pink petals and fleeting beauty, sakura has become a beloved symbol of spring and renewal worldwide. But beyond its aesthetic appeal, sakura is also significant in history and tradition.

Whether you’re a seasoned sakura enthusiast or simply curious about this iconic symbol of spring, let’s explore some exciting sakura trivia you may not have known before.

Sakura, or cherry blossoms, have captured the hearts of people worldwide. While sakura is famous for its delicate pink petals and brief blooming period, there is much more to this beloved flower than meets the eye. From its long history of cultivation in Japan to its deep cultural significance, there are many interesting facts and trivia surrounding sakura.

Cherry blossoms in Japan have been cultivated for over a thousand years.

The cultivation of sakura in Japan dates back over a thousand years. While the exact origins of sakura cultivation are unclear, The practice began during the Nara period (710-794), when Japanese aristocrats began planting cherry trees on their estates.

A large cherry blossom tree in Japan.
People have cultivated this flower for millennia. Image via Shutterstock

During the Heian period (794-1185), sakura cultivation became more widespread, with cherry trees planted throughout Japan. However, during the Edo period (1603-1868), sakura became ubiquitous, with many different varieties of cherry trees being cultivated for their beauty rather than their fruit.

There are over 200 varieties of sakura in Japan.

Japan has around 200 different sakura tree types, each with unique characteristics and blooming patterns. Some of Japan’s most popular varieties of sakura trees include Somei Yoshino, the most common variety with delicate, pale pink petals.

White Yoshino cherry blossoms in Japan.
Yoshino cherry blossoms are the most famous in the country. Image via Shutterstock

Another popular variety is Yamazakura, a wild cherry tree that blooms in early April and has dark pink petals. Shidarezakura is a weeping cherry tree that also grows in Japan, featuring cascading branches and pale pink petals. People celebrate these varieties for their beauty and cultural significance during the cherry blossom season in Japan.

Other popular varieties include Kanzan, a double-flowered cherry tree variety with deep pink petals; Ukon, a rare sakura with yellow petals often used in tea ceremonies; and Sato Zakura, a variety of sakura that blooms in the autumn with light pink petals. 

A bunch of fluffy, pink cherry blossoms in Japan called yaezakura.
Yaezakura is present in a lot of food. Image via Shutterstock

Yaezakura is a double-flowered cultivar with big, ruffled pink and white petals. Around the same time, Oshima Zakura is a wild cherry tree that blooms with white petals in late April.

Kikuzakura is pink petals that look like chrysanthemums. As a result, people call it the “chrysanthemum sakura.” Fugenzo is a unique cultivar that blooms in late April or early May with deep pink petals.

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Cherry blossoms in Japan only last for a few days.

The temperature and weather significantly affect when cherry blossom trees bloom. When it’s warmer and sunny, the flowers may open earlier, but when it’s cold and rainy, they may not open until later.

Cherry blossoms in Japan, along a road covered in flower petals.
Many cherry blossom petals look like pink carpets. Image via Shutterstock

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and several other groups keep a close eye on the blooming of cherry blossom trees in Japan. Every year, the JMA forecasts when the cherry blossoms will bloom in different parts of the country.

Cherry blossom season is a time for celebration and reflection, as the blossoms symbolize life’s fleeting nature and impermanence’s beauty. In Japanese culture, blossoms symbolize renewal and new beginnings, often featured in art, literature, and poetry.

Hanami is a popular pastime in Japan.

The practice of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, initially started as an event exclusively for the nobility during the Edo period. However, over time it became popular among commoners as well. As a result, people would gather under the blooming cherry trees to enjoy picnics and parties. This tradition continues today and is a beloved part of Japanese culture.

People enjoying hanami (cherry blossom viewing picnic).
Hanami is integral to cherry blossom season. Image via Shutterstock

During sakura season, many people in Japan will gather with friends and family to enjoy a picnic or party under the blooming cherry trees. This tradition has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries and is a way to celebrate spring’s arrival and sakura’s beauty.

Sakura is integral in traditional medicine.

In the past, people used cherry blossoms in traditional medicine. They believe it can potentially reduce fever and relieve pain and inflammation. Its flower petals are present in tea and other herbal therapies. Even though these alternative practices are no longer popular, people still value cherry blossoms for their cultural significance and beauty.

Sakura flowers on black stones.
Cherry blossoms are very soothing. Image via Shutterstock

To be more specific, the bark, leaves, and fruit of the sakura tree also have medicinal properties. The bark can potentially stop bleeding and treat diarrhea and dysentery. It also has a cherry-like fruit, which people use to treat constipation.

People also used the stem of the sakura flower as a tonic to improve health and vigor. Despite limited scientific evidence to support its use, the sakura tree remains a beloved cultural symbol in Japan. This is especially the case during the spring when the stunning pink and white blossoms bloom.

Cherry blossoms in Japan are present in medicine. Cherry blossoms against a pink background with tinctures.
Cherry blossoms were once used in traditional medicine. Image via Shutterstock

The sakura is more than just a pretty flower – it symbolizes Japanese culture and history. Whether enjoying a picnic under the blooming cherry trees or simply admiring their beauty from afar, cherry blossoms in Japan are a significant symbol worldwide!

Did you know about these facts about cherry blossoms in Japan? What impressed you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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