Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival
Hanami party © Patrice Neff
Heralding the beginning of spring, cherry trees burst into a riot of pink and white blossoms all over Japan. The cherry blossom, or sakura, is the country's national flower and a symbol of the country. For many years, the Japanese have celebrated the cherry blossom annually. Depending on the local conditions, it usually starts in Okinawa in January, reaching Kyoto and Tokyo in late March to early April, and Hokkaido in late May. The festival is celebrated with hanami parties under the trees and picnics, drinking, singing and dancing. Street stalls are set up and musicians serenade the merry picnickers, many of whom are decked out in outrageous costumes and masks.
Date: March and April annually