Hanami. It literally translates to cherry-blossom viewing in Japanese, and it’s what everyone starts talking about around March when the weather starts getting warmer. Although spring is generally associated with flowers everywhere, here it’s taken to a whole new level. Hanami is a social event with a group of friends that entails drinking, eating, more drinking, and oh yes, the viewing of the cherry blossoms and appreciating the beauty of…uuh, did I mention alcohol?
There are many great places for Hanami in Japan, but I must say my favorite would be in Nakameguro. The cherry blossoms line the Meguro River for a wonderful view both day and night. While taking a stroll down the river and taking in the view, there are many vendors that sell food and drinks to complete the Hanami experience. There are some of the typical Japanese vendors, including gigantic sweet potatoes, but there were also many kebab vendors, and for drinks try out the special “sakura” champaign in plastic champaign glasses.
There is also a park near by the river if you’d rather picnic under the cherry blossom trees. If you have children, it’s the perfect place for you and your family to enjoy the view of the cherry blossom trees with enough space for the kids to run around and play. When it starts getting dark, don’t forget to head back to the river to see the lanterns lit up down the river. The lanterns casting beautiful pink and orange glow on the cherry-blossoms for the perfect twilight picturesque scenery for photographs.
For dinner plans, there are several restaurants along the riverside, but depending on the time, you may need to make a reservation earlier since everyone else maybe thinking the same exact thing. Still, it may be worth it to get a beautiful view will you (possibly wine and) dine. If you come to Japan during the spring time, make some time for Hanami, and make sure to stop by Nakameguro at some point.