Photo Journal: Popping My Cherry Blossom in Tokyo, Japan

Everyone remembers their first time and for over a decade I had dreamed of going to Tokyo to pop my cherry… blossom, that is.


For years I visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Washington, DC to view the few rows of confined sakura trees gifted from Japan to the US in a gesture of friendship. But it just wasn’t the same. I longed to see the luminous petal faces in their natural home scattered throughout the dichotomous mix of modern trends and abidingly antiquated manners.


Hanami (花見 translated as “flower viewing”) is the long-established Japanese custom of appreciating the transient beauty of cherry blossoms. The short-lived bloom of sakura, unlike its age-old viewing tradition, typically last 1 to 2 weeks starting from the end of March.


Dating back to the 700’s, the practice of hanami originally began as a tradition limited to the Imperial Court but soon spread to samurai society and then to the common people as well.


Today, hanami still marks the poetic and colorful transition to spring from Japan’s long and blistery white winter. Radiant and fresh yet momentary and ephemeral, the delicate flowers seem to be a metaphor for life itself. And with the warming days, locals and tourists come from far and wide to admire the transient beauty of the sakura over festive drinks and food.


Luckily, this latest business trip to Tokyo happened to coincide with the scheduled parade of the city’s pink and white confetti petals. And the first free day we had after meetings, meetings and more meetings, I forced my colleague and boyfriend we happily traversed park to park to track down the few trees in full bloom.


And despite the few short hours we had to find and enjoy these floral beauties, it was exactly what centuries of practice promised it would be.



Westin Tokyo
1-4-1 Mita
Tokyo 153-8580, Japan
+81 3-5423-7000


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Write a Comment

  • I visited Japan in 2012 and absolutely loved it! Unfortunately we were not there in Cherry Blossom season but I would love to go back. Thank you for taking me there through your writing and for the beautiful photos.

    26 April 2015 at 11:59 AM
  • Wow! Mesmerizing beauty. The cherry blossoms were blooming here in Portland along the river walk around the same time. I always enjoy making a special trip down to see them around that time of year. It marks the beginning of spring and the end of the rainy & cold season. When I see the cherry blossoms I know that the longer and warmer days are just around the corner. What a treat to see the cherry blossoms in Japan. I hope to see them there one day soon. Thanks again for the beautiful photos and the poetic writing.

    23 April 2015 at 6:37 AM
  • Beautiful photos! I really loved reading about the history of Hanami.

    23 April 2015 at 1:46 AM
  • Gosh! what beautiful pictures, such abundant display of nature at her best. This reminds me a wee town here in New Zealand called Arrow Town, and in autumn the trees bloom wit all different coloured leaves. Its an awesome sight. Thanks for sharing nature’s beauty with us.

    22 April 2015 at 7:36 AM
  • These photos are just beautiful! I loved Japan, and would love to go there during blossom season.

    21 April 2015 at 11:27 AM
  • Pics are gorgeous. Cant wait to see more of the trees/flowers bloom here in NYC.

    6 April 2015 at 11:03 PM