Annual Events Traditional Culture

Ohana-mi (Cherry blossom viewing)

Hi  everyone how have you been?  Today’s topic is ” Ohana-mi “(Cherry blossome viewing) that is one of “Cool Japan” (entertainment party under the cherry tree, Sakura) .

What’s Sakura (Cherry tree)?

“Sakura”, the Cherry blossom is regarded as an iconic flower of Japan. And, in fact, for many Japanese, it’s synonymous with the word “flower”.

Ohana-mi,Cherry blossome viewing

Every spring, the cherry trees all over Japan burst into bloom. Everywhere you look, there are petals in elegant, subtle shades of pink. And they scatter in the wind to create a dreamy atmosphere.

More than 300 difference varieties of flowering cherries grow around the country. Cherry blossoms have long been used as a design element in various ways. These lacquered bowls are decorated with blossom motifs.

And here, a lacquered box for storing letters. By depicting cherry blossoms on everyday objects like these, people have managed to suggest and enjoy a sence of spring.

Cherry blossome viewing

What’s Ohana-mi Cherry blossom viewing)?

Since ancient times, people have admired all kinds of flowers and composed poetry inspired by them. It was around the 10th century that cherry blossoms became prominent as one of the motifs of spring.

They are referred to in many of the narratives and poems written around that time, just like the followings,

It’s because the cherry blossoms fall
     That they’re beautiful in the eyes of all
             Nothing is eternal in the world we live in.

The aristocrats of that time saw their own mortal lives reflected in the cherry blossoms that bloom and fall all too quickly.

After the start of the Edo period, about a little over 400 years ago, Ohana-mi, cherry blossom viewing caught on as a form of entertainment for ordinary townspeople.

When the cherry blossom season arrived, people would gather, taking food and drink with them, and have boisterous parties. For some people, this was a way to vent their daily frustrations.

Cherry blossome viewing


In the middle of the 19th century, a new variety of flowering cherry called Somei-yoshino was created. It was distinguished by the austere beauty of its large whitish floweres.

Somei-yoshino cherry trees only bloom for a particularly short period of time, and their petals seem to start dropping almost as soon as they’re opened.

This dovetails perfectly with the tradtional Japanese aesthetic sensibility that finds beauty not only in blooming flowere but also in the way they flutter to the ground.


In the traditional Japanese worldview, the transience of life is felt through the changing seasons. At the same time, the aesthetic of understated beauty is valued highly.

For over 1,000 years, people in Japan have perceived the cherry blossom to be the mirror of their sensibility.

Finally, we also have another blog relating to “Sakura”, whose title is “Sakura (cherry) to evoke a feel of the transience of life“,and ”
Let’s enjoy the winter cherry blossom of illumination powered by waste edible oil at Meguro River in Tokyo” to be visited, thanks

About the author

古林 茂樹(Shigeki Furubayashi )