These flowers are a mainstay in the slice of life, high school anime genre. How would we even know they were starting a new school year if the main character doesn’t stop to peak up at the cherry blossoms right before being late for the opening ceremony? But besides just panning up to them as our main character runs to school with toast in their mouth, there is another common setting for cherry blossoms, hanami or a flower viewing picnic.
Here are our picks for the top 3 kawaii moments from hanami episodes in anime.
An anime series that shows a very realistic example of what happens in Japan when the cherry blossoms bloom is the anime Polar Bear’s Cafe (Shirokuma Cafe). Which is surprising since it is a show where 90% of the cast is anthropomorphic animals, so you wouldn’t think it would have a very realistic anything.
In episode two, The Cafe’s Flower Viewing Party, the cherry blossoms start to bloom. Polar Bear, Panda, Penguin, Llama, Sloth, and Ms. Sasako decide to go have a hanami picnic together under the cherry blossoms. Polar Bear brings a picnic blanket and packed bento boxes (lunch boxes) for food and drinks for everyone, which is basically hanami 101.
Just as Penguin starts to admire the beautiful and temporary nature of the blossoming flowers, everyone gets hungry. This is again an integral part of the hanami experience, both valuing the flowers and all they symbolize, but also being very excited to eat with your friends or family.
It is at this point where Penguin gets annoyed with his friends not appreciating the cherry blossoms enough and begins to drink a lot, which leads to him becoming a quite excitable drunk. At first he wants everyone to sing and dance, and then after that he insists that everyone should lift him into a tree so he can try to fly. When that idea is rejected Penguin decided to confess to the group his feelings for a penguin named Ms. Penko who works at a bakery that he frequents.
Depending on the type of company you keep, this may be a realistic hanami picnic experience for you.
The last bit of accurate information about cherry blossoms is the yozakura or nighttime cherry blossom viewing, which is simply seeing the cherry blossoms at night. Early on during the hanami picnic Sloth decides to go to the convenience store for a drink. Due to the nature and speed of sloths, he does not return until night time. Even though everyone else already left, Polar Bear anticipated this and waited for his friend so they could have a yozakura picnic together.
Another example of the hanami party and the overall vibe of the hanami season in anime is the Rilakkuma and Kaoru series. Already in the first episode of the series we get an even more realistic look at life during the cherry blossom season in Japan.
As adults it is often hard to meet up with friends due to conflicting schedules and busy lives. On top of that it can also be hard not to compare your life with those around you who you think have ‘made it’ further in life.
These two things collide for our main character Kaoru who is a young business woman living with Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiirotori. We see her carefully make hanami bento for her and her friends, prepare a picnic blanket, and head out to find the best hanami spot. Unfortunately, the longer she shits there the more crowded it gets around her. Her friends all eventually bail on her and she is left alone to ponder her life and the meaning of cherry blossoms.
This is realistic because it is often hard to pinpoint exactly when the flowers will bloom and once they do there is a very limited window of only about 2 weeks to see them. Not everyone can easily find time to drop everything and sit under sakura trees for a few hours. Of course for Kaoru this is interpreted as her being left behind as her friends all move on to enjoy their lives without her.
As wonderful as sakura and hanami is, if we ponder life too hard it can lead us down a path of existential crisis. Luckily she has 3 amazing characters in her life who also take her out for yozakura, and to silently let her know they are there for her.
This one is not an actual hanami but cute enough to make our list. The show was about a group of friends who grew up swimming together in elementary school and later decided to start a swim club in high school. Comedy and drama ensue, but one moment that is particularly touching involves a scene with cherry blossoms.
The main characters actually had another swimming friend growing up who drifted apart due to his desire to go to the Olympics, among other things. After some fighting…and swimming, the friends eventually come back together to support each other. Even though their relationship is rocky at some times, one character goes out of his way to make a childhood dream come true for his friend.
In the second season of the anime a blindfolded and quite alarmed Rin Matsuoka is led to the roof of Iwatobi High School to witness something that can only be described as breathtaking, a pool of cherry blossoms. In real life, when cherry blossom trees grow near water like a river or a pool, their petals fall in as they mature.
The resulting body of water looks like a dreamy pool of pink. Main character Haruka Nanase had remembered that it was always a dream of Rin’s to see a pool of cherry blossoms and went out of his way to bring his childhood friend to see them.
The moment is touching and it really shows how strong their friendship really is. It also gives fans a chance to see a softer side of Rin who spent the whole first season being very angry.
Learn more about how to have a fun cherry blossom experience and to find out more about hanami and yozakura. So pack up your hanami bento, grab your friends, and load up some of these anime series to feel the sakura season year round, anywhere in the world.
Apart from sushi and sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms), cosplay is one of the most common terms when referring to Japan.
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