Hanami (花見, cherry blossom viewing) is a big deal in Japan. Because the cherry blossoms are only in bloom for about week or so, people want to get in all the hanami that they can. Companies will send employees to camp out all day so that they can have a prime hanami spot. Hanami usually involves eating and drinking and and can last all day. Hanami at night is called yozakura (夜桜).
We’ve been having some hanami fun during the day here in Osaka, but we also hung out under the cherry blossoms in Kyoto this past weekend. (See the last entry for daytime sakura.) The cherry blossoms are lovely during the day but they’re also pretty magical at night.
Maruyama Park, Kyoto’s most popular spot for hanami.
There are tons of food stalls in the park, along with tables set up on raised platforms. (It’s like sitting on the ground, but more comfortable.) So you can have hanami without having to haul your own blanket and food to the park! Hanami for the lazy.
We sat down and started with some beer and oden.
As the sun goes down, everything gets prettier. (And not just because you’re drinking.)
It was a bit cold outside, so we got some hot sake.
See! So pretty!
Pink sakura, dark sky.
Two bottles of sake later…
…everything is beautiful.
“I’m overwhelmed by all this beauty!” (Or my face is melting.)
I can’t decide if I like the cherry blossoms better during the day or at night.
The park is lit up not only with sakura, but lanterns.
More food stalls. (This one is selling okonomiyaki.)
Maruyama Park is famous for this weeping sakura tree (枝垂桜, shidarezakura), which is lit up at night.
It’s been rainy here in Osaka for the past couple days, but it’s supposed to be sunny towards the end of the week. I’ll probably try to get in some last-minute hanami before the cherry blossoms are gone for good.