Ultimate Hanami Guide – How to do it like a pro

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Ultimate Hanami Guide – How to do it like a pro

The long awaited cherry blossom season is upon us! Here’s our beginner’s guide on how to hanami like a pro.

Hanami means “flower viewing”, but it is most commonly used during sakura season in Japan. It’s actually really simple to do. Just enjoy the views of the pretty cherry blossoms above you! You can enjoy the views from a distance too.

In Japan, where shrines, temples, mountains, and castles are common, the cherry blossoms look especially beautiful against them.

Hanami can just be a peaceful stroll in the park for some, but it also involves a little picnic under the cherry trees. Hanami parties or cherry blossom viewing parties have been going on in Japan for many centuries. Famous places to view cherry blossoms can get really crowded, which means you might have to go there extremely early to reserve a picnic spot!

Hanami in Japan
Photo from Shutterstock

Wonder how to reserve a picnic spot? Common practice in Japan is to lay out one’s picnic sheet early in the morning. You can either write your group’s name and viewing party starting time, or have a friend station there for the whole day till the rest of your group arrives!

Though we think it’s more efficient to leave your picnic sheet there to save time, some parks do not allow you to leave your picnic sheets unattended.

What to bring

Japan crowds enjoy the spring cherry blossoms in Kyoto by partaking in seasonal night Hanami festivals in Maruyama Park at Kyoto, Japan
Photo from Shutterstock
  • Picnic mat (preferably one that’s big enough for everyone plus the food!)
  • A picnic spread (sandwiches, cakes, drinks, whatever you like)
  • Disposable or reusable utensils, cups, plates, and napkins
  • Blankets, jackets, scarves (to keep you warm)
  • Camera or phone (for taking amazing photos, of course!

Hanami etiquette

Japanese lantern in the park filled with Sakura
Photo from Shutterstock

1. Treat the cherry trees well and carefully

They’re for you to be admired, not touched! Don’t pull or shake the branches, and most definitely don’t climb on them or stand on their roots!

2. Clean up after your viewing party or picnic

Take proper consideration to pick up your rubbish after you’re done. Dispose of them appropriately.

3. Respect the rules

Different parks have different rules when it comes to hanami. Most parks do not allow barbecueing, some have a curfew, and a few do not allow alcoholic beverages.

4. Be considerate of others

Everyone just wants to have a good time and enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms! Remember to be considerate of others when you’re there! Don’t cause a ruckus, stay clean.

Now that you know how to hanami like a pro, check out our guide on the best places to view the cherry blossoms in Japan this year!

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