Have you heard or seen the word Hanami? Hanami (花見, "flower viewing") is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers; the flowers ("hana") are in this case almost always referring to cherry blossom, better known as sakura trees. From the end of March to early May, cherry trees bloom all over Japan, the blossoms only last a week or two, so you have to be quick to see it or you'll miss out!
Hanami picnics are really popular among Japanese people and even foreigners. They usually hunt for the best spot to lay their picnic mat and enjoying the sakura scenery with friends or family.
If you're looking to plan your own hanami party or are simply wondering how to do it properly, TokyoTreat has this handy guide for you.
1. Prepare your picnic mat.
You can use a woven straw mat or a large plastic tarp, generally called a leisure sheet in Japan (or even one of the cute blankets you might have been given in a box or bought from Japan Haul😋). You can easily find these at various 100-yen stores and variety shops, like Daiso and Don Quijote that can be found almost anywhere!
2. Secure your spot early.
Have you ever read a manga or watched an anime where the characters are fighting over a prime hanami spot in a park? That’s not just for comic relief, that's a reality for all Hanami viewers 😅. To get the best spots, you have to secure your picnic spot among hundreds or thousands of visitors. It is best to go very early (for the most popular spots, sometimes even days early) and reserve a space with a sheet, with someone to stay on that sheet until everyone else in the group has arrived.
3. Prepare your food!
The most exciting things hanami picnic is… getting to eat tons of delicious food! There will be a lot of themed sakura food you can find in Japan around Hanami time. How about bringing a special Hanami bento (packed lunch) packed with sushi, onigiri, tamago, karaage, and other traditional Japanese food. For dessert, you can bring sakura dango, sakura mochi, and sakura pudding. Also, if you want (and you are not underage), you can bring sake, Japanese liquor! For some Hanami viewers, this is the true highlight of watching the cherry blossom petals slowly falling.
Sounds nice, right? If you already have a plan for Hanami, please don’t forget to clean up your spot and don’t leave any rubbish behind. Also, please refrain from damaging the sakura tree, it hasn't done anything but provide beautiful entertainment for you! Have you ever been to a Hanami picnic before? You can share your experiences and favourite food down in the comment section below! We can't wait to hear about your hanami picnic experiences ^_^.
Do you know that TokyoTreat was also in the Hanami picnic mood? This year, we already had special sakura themed treats in the April and May boxes. Did you miss it? Don’t worry, we have prepared a special Hanami Picnic theme box for June! You don’t have to be in Japan to feel the Hanami festive by subscribing to TokyoTreat 🌸🌸🌸!