Unspoken Rules You Have to Follow During Japan’s Sakura Season
Do as the locals do.
When Japanese people see the sakura blooming, they feel that the long cold days of winter are finally coming to an end. And because this event lasts for only about a week in a whole year, locals celebrate this precious moment by holding a hanami, a tradition of watching the flowers. Here are some suggested tips if you're planning to observe hanami in Japan.
On finding the best spots
Make sure you arrive early.
Finding a spot with a good view of the sakura means starting very early in the morning. In fact, it gets so crowded on weekends that fall during the cherry blossom season that people go to the park as early as 5 a.m.
Bring the hanami essentials.
You will need a picnic sheet to secure your spot. Make sure the space you occupy is just enough for the number of people joining you, so more people can enjoy the flowers. At least one person must stay on the sheet the entire time, so as not to lose your space.
Avoid sitting right under the trees.
Not a lot of people know this, but it's better to avoid the spot right below the sakura trees because you risk damaging the roots.
On what NOT to do during hanami
Do not touch the branches.
Sakura trees are very fragile. If you break a branch, there is a risk that the tree might not bloom the next year.
Bring clothes to keep yourself warm.
The weather will start to get cold late afternoon, so bring a jacket, a blanket, or even a kairo (pocket warmer) will be useful too.
Do not bring tables, chairs, or tents.
This is so you don't end up obstructing the view for other people. If the picnic sheet is too flat, you can bring cushions to make yourself feel more comfortable.
Cooking isn't allowed.
To avoid fires, most parks do not allow cooking at the hanami spot. Instead, bring snacks or takeout food from shops.
Avoid making too much noise.
You'll find yourself sharing close quarters with other people. Respect everyone's space. You do not want to ruin the moment by fighting with other people, so keep your voice down.
What to do after hanami ends
Leave before the park's closing time.
Avoid staying beyond the park's hours unless said hours have been extended. Sometimes, parks have the sakura lit up at night for people to enjoy yozakura (sakura at night).
Bring your trash home.
Some parks have trash bins available, but sometimes they don't or the trash bins aren't enough. Whenever throwing trash, make sure to segregate them properly.
*Some parks have different rules. Make sure you take note of them.
All these rules might sound like a hassle, but they exist so that next year and in the years to come, people can keep enjoying this once-a-year celebration. They're also around, so that you can go home with lovely memories of your time in Japan.
Provided by Karaksa Media Partner (1 March 2019)