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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogSakura: The Japanese Cherry Blossom Experience

Sakura: The Japanese Cherry Blossom Experience

By Serena
April 28, 2022

Although it is very short-lived, Japan’s sakura (cherry blossom) season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. The weather starts getting warmer, friends and family meet up to attend hanami (flower viewing picnics), and stores and restaurants have limited-time items with cherry blossoms colors or flavors.

Some customs might surprise you if you have spent time in Japan during the sakura season. Here are some ways to experience the sakura season like many do in Japan.

Hanami

Hanami is precise, as the translation says. To experience hanami, all you need to do is go outside and view some cherry blossoms. Of course, an actual hanami-style picnic involves a little bit more than that.

In Japan, many people pack a special hanami bento (flower-viewing lunch box) full of fluffy Japanese rolled omelets, inari sushi, fried chicken, and a particular type of dango (sweet rice flour dumplings.

A sakura-themed picnic spread.
A lovely Hanami-themed picnic spread. Image via Pixta

Check out our snack guide for making your own hanami bento. And, if you have cherry blossoms near you, why not try a Japanese-style hanami picnic.

Games

For those who do not have cherry blossoms near them, there are many ways to still enjoy the cherry blossom season. Immersive experiences in video games, anime, and manga can bring the cherry blossoms to you.

Animal Crossing

A sakura scene in the Nintendo game "Animal Crossing".
An adorable hanami scene in Animal Crossing. Image via Lashkar.

For those with a Nintendo Switch, Animal Crossing New Horizons is a great way to experience the Japanese season wherever you live. The cherry blossom season in Animal Crossing mirrors the season here in Japan in real-time.

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Players in the Animal Crossing New Horizons game get to live on an imaginary island with many animal neighbors. As an Island Representative, you live out your daily life while maintaining the island’s beauty as it changes with the seasons.

A popular season among players is the cherry blossom season. Trees on your island will turn a beautiful shade of pink for the first week and a half of April. The air will also be filled with cherry blossom petals as they float by. Equipe your net and grab a few as they fly by for materials to build cherry blossom-themed DIYs.

Animal Crossing players fishing for sakura cherry blossom petals.
Who wants to go fishing for some sakura petals? Image via Reddit.

Don’t have any cherry blossom recipes? Get your slingshot out and start hitting balloons as they fly by. Special balloons will drop different recipes for items such as a cherry blossom umbrella, cherry blossom wands, and different cherry blossom bonsai trees.

Anime

You can always watch some anime for those without a Nintendo Switch! Cherry blossoms are not only a beautiful and familiar visual but are also used heavily as a metaphor for many experiences; new beginnings and change are the two most common.

We picked our top 3 favorite hanami episodes in anime that really portray the Japanese cherry blossom experience. 

Polar Bear’s Cafe

The second episode of Polar Bear’s Cafe takes place during the cherry blossom season. The main cast consists of Polar Bear (who runs the cafe everyone frequents), Panda, Penguin, Llama, Sloth, and Ms. Sasako. They all have a hanami picnic together as the cherry blossom petals fall.

Unfortunately, Penguin has a lot on his mind and gets very drunk very fast during their picnic. Comedy and drama ensue as he tries to confess his feelings for a female penguin he has a crush on in front of everyone…except her, of course.

Polar Bear’s Cafe has its own hanami moments as well. Image via Twitter.

Rilakkuma and Kaoru

In the first episode of the Netflix series Rilakkuma and Kaoru, the main character, Kaoru, prepares for a hanami picnic with her friends, only to get stood up! As she starts to spiral into self-doubt, Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiirotori all come to her side to remind her that she has people who care about her!

Check out the blog to find out what our third pick is!

Seasonal Shopping

Instead, do some shopping instead of anime? We got you covered! Here are some spring 2022 items in Japanese stores to help to keep the sakura theme going long after the last cherry blossom petals have fallen.

Sanrio Store Japan

The Sanrio Stores in Japan are always stocked to the brim with seasonal products. The spring season is a treat as they have kawaii Sanrio cherry blossom, Easter-themed goods, and specialty goods for any Sanrio characters with an April birthday.

Sakura pink Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Cinnamoroll are just waiting for you to take them home this Spring! Image via Twitter

Bad Badtz Maru and Pompompurin were two characters with birthdays in May and a special character spotlight. Check out our blogs to see what other kawaii Sanrio goodies you can get.

Spring Lolita Trends

If kawaii fashion is more your thing, we have spring 2022 lolita fashion trends straight from the Harajuku shopping street for you. Just off of Takeshita Street, you will find Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, and Alice and the Pirates, who all have kawaii lolita releases for the spring season.

Lolita-style outfits are cute to wear in the springtime! Image via Google

Want to explore the world of lolita fashion? YumeTwins has your back with the history of fashion style and hot, up-to-date trends. Check out styles like Best Wishes, Girly Apples, and Humpty Dumpty!.   

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Serena

Kawaii culture lover since birth, I am beyond excited to share my passion for cute with the world!

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