It’s Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

I’m sad. I usually try to make it to Japan during sakura (cherry blossom season), but this year, I’m stuck here in Chicago. Last year I wrote this article about the Cherry Blossom Festival, so in case you missed it, take a look. There’s also a slide show.

At the height of sakura season in Kyoto's Gion neighborhood
At the height of sakura season in Kyoto's Gion neighborhood

The article delves into the history of this — one of Japan’s most important festivals — and how this fragile blossom became an iconic symbol of Japanese beauty that influenced the art, food and philosophy of Japan.

The arrival of the blossoms also heralds the end of winter and the awakening of spring. It’s no accident that Savory Japan was launched at this time last year, as we are influenced by the seasonal calendar and regard it as a time for new beginnings, as do schoolchildren who embark on a new school year, businesses that begin another fiscal year and of course, farmers who are already busy with their seedlings.

Have you ever experienced the miracle of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms? Is it one of your favorite times to visit (or be in) Japan, or do you avoid the crowds at all costs? Does the sight of the falling petals bring a tear of joy to your eye, or do you dread the attendant multiple invitations and social engagements?