Cherry Blossom Time In Japan



Flowers

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The Beauty of Cherry Blossom

Cherry blossom time in Japan is magical, as nature presents its ultimate floral show. Not only do trees offer such a variety of materials for our crafts. but they can also be beautiful beyond words.

The flowering of cherry blossom trees, known as sakura in Japanese,  has been celebrated for over a thousand years throughout the country’s poetry, literature and art.

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Where and when the trees blossom

So when does this glorious flower show start? To answer this question we must look at the geography of the country.

Japan is a string of islands, running for around 1000 miles, from Okinawa (flowering January ) in the semi tropical South to the island of Hokkaido (Early May) in the North. 

Japan map

globalsherpa.org

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Other factors come into play like the prevailing Spring weather conditions and the variety of sakura, as there are many different species. (See below)

The Japanese met office has a dedicated unit which predicts the date when the first glimpse of pink will be seen in numerous tourist locations across the country.

As a guide they predict the breaking of the first buds in Tokyo will be on March 23rd this year, with the best display being seen between March 30th and April 7th.

Japanese Flower Festivals

Parasol

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Hanani, which means ‘flower viewing’, is a huge national festival. Extended families gather below the blossom to enjoy barbecues and picnics with live music. craft and food stalls enhancing the joyful ambience.

 

 

Lanterns

Eugeny Tchebotareo Pexels

In the evening the trees are transformed into a magical fairyland, known as yozakura, as the blossom is lit with thousand of lanterns entwined in the branches of the sakura.

The most famous destination is Yoshino on Kansai, where over 30,000 sakura trees cover the Kii Mountains.

 


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Other Blossom Festivals

Plum Blossom, or Ume in Japanese, is one of the first signs that Spring has arrived.  The mountains on Honshu are covered with candy floss blooms.

Plum Blossom

https://www.city.mito.lg.jp/

The Mito Ume Festival is the highlight of the plum blossom season with the Kairakuen Gardens being a wonderful showcase for the blooms. A bullet train takes just 80 minutes to reach Mito from the centre of Tokyo.


If you want to travel to Japan in late Spring then the magnificent tunnels of wisteria rival the displays of ume and sakura.

The Great Wisteria Festival is held in the Ashikaga Flower Park from the middle of April until late May. It is only 90 minutes from Tokyo by train.

Wisteria

Wisteria Takahiro Bessho Photography

 

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Ways To Enjoy Cherry Blossom Year Round

There are several ways you can capture the fragrance of cherry blossom.

Make A Cherry Blossom Potpourri

No need to go to Japan to savour the scent of cherry blossom. Here is a simple recipe to make a traditional potpourri…..

Ingredients

Two handfuls of cherry blossom flowers

Ten cherry blossom buds

A handful of cinnamon bark

A handful of lavender stalks or a teaspoon of dried buds

Teaspoon of cloves

Orange or lemon peel

Buds on tray

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Instructions

1. Pull the petals from the flowers, but don’t touch the buds.

2. Cover two large trays with paper or cardboard

3. Place the petals in a single layer on one tray. The fresh lavender. buds and fruit peel are placed on a second tray.

4, Place the trays in a warm. dry, dark place for about 2 or 3 days.

5. Once the petals are brittle, place all of the ingredients into a deep bowl and stir to mix everything together. You can add a few drops of essential oil which will help your potpourri stay fresh.

 

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Cherry Blossom Recipes

One of the highlights of cherry blossom time is having a picnic in the park surrounded by your family and friends. 

What can you take for the picnic? There are many recipes with a cherry blossom theme……here are a couple of suggestions…..

Sakura Cherry Blossom Swiss Roll

Cherry Blossom Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies

jajabakes.com

Cherry Blossom Swiss Roll

japancentre.com


Plant A Cherry Tree

There are many varieties of cherry tree, or prunus to give it its Latin name, you could plant.

Take a look at the Primrose Nursery website to discover everything about cherry trees.

Prunus

Cheal’s Weeping Cherry Primrose.co.uk

White cherry

Prunus Shogetsu


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You may be interested in reading some of my other posts……

Kumiko….A Traditional Japanese Style Of Woodwork

Green Woodworking…..Tools, Products and Skills

or open my Home Page for a comprehensive index of the posts I have written on Wood Crafts

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Ian

I have always loved wood crafts. In my teens it was model gliders, ships in bottles, puppets, wooden toys.... Then I had to earn a crust and became a civil engineer designing and building bridges, motorways, schools...until I became a video producer. On retiring I started making dolls houses but now I am a blogger concentrating on my love of wood.