Hanami (花見) in Japan

 
 


Sakura (cherry blossoms) have just begun to bloom in Japan! And you know what that means...? I finally did some Japanese shit in Japan. Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to my very first hanami! Hanami (花見) literally means "flower viewing" and it's kind of a big deal in Japan. I didn't know much about it until maybe a month ago when a friend proposed planning one. Basically, sakura makes people want to party LOL. No but really, hanami is basically a picnic with friends under sakura trees. People bring food and booze, talk and play games, it's a good time!

Our park of choice was Maruyama Park in Kyoto and apparently it's one of the most popular spots to hold a hanami party. Most people arrive at the park very early to secure a good area by placing down their mats. Being that I live in Hyogo, that would have been a ridiculous amount of effort to try to leave home the same morning to get there just as the sun is rising. So, we stayed in Kyoto the night before at a super cute, pretty traditional looking room, down the road from the park.

We ended up drinking quite a bit once we got to Kyoto and stayed up pretty late, so I was not a happy camper when we woke up at 5:30 am. But, my kind friend went to secure our spot while I stayed in the room. Princess Liana. We didn't actually leave the room until almost 10 am and I was a bit wary of someone moving the mats, but when we got to the park, the mats were untouched. Nice Japanese people.

And I had no idea what a big thing it is, I was honestly down as soon as I heard "all-day drinking" picnic hahaha. I'm not an alcoholic, I promise. There were actually tons of food stalls and booze vendors so technically, we didn't really need to bring our own. But it was much nicer on my wallet that we did. I bought 3 bottles of peach sake for 500yen each from Family Mart. Fuck yeah. Might not be the best sake, but it tasted good and it did it's job. We spent the day talking, drinking, playing cards, and it really was a good time. :)

Lessons learned for next time:

  1. Don't wear a sweater, it was fucking hot. I thought it was going to be a nice, comfortable temperature. But I guess if you're sitting under the sun for the whole day, it can be expected to get hot.
  2. Maybe bring a little chair or some cushions, sitting on the ground isn't exactly the most comfortable.
  3. Bring more booze. Yes, really. I don't think any of us realized how much we would actually drink throughout the day, especially because we all shared with each other. We had to buy a round from one of the stalls there because we were out but still down to drink more.
  4. Be prepared for rain. We got rained on at the end of the day. No umbrellas. It was cold.

I tried to properly use my camera for once and took some pics :)

If you're looking for a place to stay in Kyoto, check out Airbnb! They have great listings that are often less expensive than staying at a hotel and that offer a unique experience. Kyoto is especially unique because many listings offer a very traditional Japanese experience. Get ¥3,664 (or the equivalent in your country's currency) off your first booking by clicking here and using my referral code. :)

 

 
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