Hanami

Hanami, or Cherry Blossom viewing is a huge thing in Japan.

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Blossom on the Philosophers Walk
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Blossom Buds

From the first buds, people start to get excited. Sakura is the Japanese for Cherry Blossom and is a word that is heard on everyone’s lips during this eagerly awaited period. Sakura is very brief, lasting for about 10 days every spring.

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Even Babies Learn to Admire Blossom

Everyone from babies and children to teenagers and adults take  part in Hanami which has been popular since the Heian Period  (794)

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Children Under Blossom Tree
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Teenagers at Maruyama Park
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Older Lady at Maruyama Park
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Cameras Everywhere

Hanami brings  out the camera for the photographer,  the ink for the artist, the cherry blossom kimonos for the ladies and the sense of fun for everyone

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Blossom Ink Study
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Enchanting Kimonos
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Side Show at Maruyama Park
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The Photographer Photographed
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Arashiyama

There are several locations in and around Kyoto where people go especially for the blossom. One is Arashiyama, where blossom tress grow amongst other trees on the hillside, on either side of a stretch of river. Ladies dress in their special cherry blossom kiomonos for the season.

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Arashiyama Ladies
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The Philosophers' Walk

The Philosophers’ Walk is another hugely popular location for Sakura, or Cherry Blossom.

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Maruyama Blossom Tree by Day

Another popular cherry blossom viewing area is Maruyama Park, where there are hundreds of blossom trees including this famous old tree, the second generation of a tree that lived 200 years ago. It is exceptionally beautiful and its twisty shape looks equally lovley by day or night. This, the most celebrated of all of the weeping cherry trees in Kyoto is called the Shidare Sakura and it is tended by the cherry tree doctor who is the 16th generation of his family to be entrusted with this responsibility.

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Maruyama Blossom Tree by Night
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A Sea of Blue Plastic

A sea of blue plastic is laid out in the park to enable families and friends to reserve  their place under a favorite tree and picnic with beer or sake.

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Maruyama Park Pop Up Restaurants

Pop up bars and restaurnts appear, set up with tables and cushions to serve drinks and snacks. Closing time is a moveable feast. The waiters work until there are no more customers. Sometimes they work a 20 hour shift but as they say,  ‘it’s only for two weeks’.

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Maruyma Park Nightlife
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Springtime Engagement Kimono

Engagements and Weddings are very popular during the Sakura Season and one can see engaged coupes in their traditional engagement clothes out on the streets. Occasionally, there is also a wedding to record.

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Cherry Blossom Kimono
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Parasol Fiancee
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Blossoming Relationship
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Traditional Japanese Wedding Group
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Confetti Blossom

It all ends when the first leaves form on the branches. When they start growing, the petals start falling and the ground is briefly covered in a carpet of pink confetti.

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