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Hanami

    Going to Japan in Spring? During spring cherry blossom (sakura) viewing parties (hanami) and cherry blossom festivals are held all over Japan. Cherry blossom viewing has been a Japanese custom since 7th century when the aristocrats enjoyed looking at the cherry blossoms and wrote poems
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    People drink, eat and sing during the day and night. It is like a picnic. People bring food, do BBQ, or buy food from vendors. Among various food people eat in cherry blossom viewing, dango is very popular. It is a chewy snack made of rice flour.
    In Tokyo, Ueno park and Yoyogi park are very popular places for cherry blossom viewing. In those place, there is even competition for the best spot. If you do not like a crowd, you can go to mountains or other quiet places for cherry blossom viewing.
    Stop by any castles, parks, shrines, temples, and school yards near you. There are cherry trees everywhere in Japan. Also, of you are planning to visit Kyoto, spring is the best time. Kyoto's historical sites are famous for their cherry trees. Many tourists visit Kyoto for cherry blossoms.
    Sakura is the national flower of Japan, and there are over four hundred varieties of cherry trees in Japan. Yama-zakura, Shidare-zakura, Higanan-zakura, Kan-zakura, and Miyama-zakura are very popular.
    Sakura is different from the cherry of the other countries. The Japanese cherry tree does not yield fruit like other cherry trees. The cherry blossoms bloom at different times throughout Japan. The cherry blossoms begin blooming in January in Okinawa, and they are at their peak in late March to April in Honshu region. In Hokkaido, sakura become in their peak in late May.
   A map which shows the average date of sakura flowering in Japan is available. The blooming period of sakura is very short. Don't miss the best time for cherry blossom viewing in your destination.

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