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IN HAMAMATSU.COM Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan Visitor Guide

IN HAMAMATSU.COM Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan Visitor Guide Hamamatsu shizuoka
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Ohanami
お花見 / おはなみ


Springtime in Japan begins with Ohanami!


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As cherry blossoms, a national flower of Japan, begin to bloom, "Ohanami" scenes are seen in various parks. People come together and drink tea, alcohol, eat together and enjoy themselves under these beautiful flowers. There are numerous kinds of "Hana (flowers)", but "cherry blossoms" are a must for Japanese Hanami. In addition, "cherry blossom" is a synonym for "spring" in Japan. Come out and enjoy the warmth of spring under these cherry blossoms!

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History of Ohanami
It is said that Ohanami began as a farmer's feast before the busy season, taking a break and praying for a good harvest in the next season. Since there were no calendars at that time, the flowering of cherry blossoms played an important role in letting the farmers know it was time to begin planting seeds. Furthermore, it was said that if the colors of the cherry blossoms were faded, the weather would be good that summer, or if there were many white flowers, harvest would be good. The flower was used to forecast that year's harvest. They were closely tied to the lives of farmers.
During the Heian period, the nobility began to note the beauty of this flower. It became customary for them to enjoy banquets under these trees. In no time, these occasions became something they looked forward to.
During the Edo period, as the basis of government switched to Edo style, many trees were planted in various locations. The general population began to enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms, which led to the modern customs of Ohanami.

Sakuramochi and Ohanami dango
During Hanami season, we often see sakuramochi and ohanami dango on sale. It is said that when Hideyoshi Toyotomi hosted a large-scale Hanami, he provided everyone with sweets. This began the customs of eating sweets during Hanami.

Sakuramochi
ohm3h.jpgThere are two types. One is the Kanto-style made with baked flour wrapped around a rice cake, like a crepe. The other is the Kansai-style made with steamed and dried mochi-rice, covered by coarsely ground wrap. Both kinds are wrapped with cherry blossom leaves soaked in salt. One theory suggests that a gatekeeper of a shrine suggested such use for leftover cherry blossom leaves. FYI, most sakuramochi found in Hamamatsu is Kansai style.

Ohanami dango
ohm4h.jpgA pink, white, and green dango on a stick is called ohanami dango. There are many theories as to why these colors were chosen. One suggests that pink and white are said to bring good luck, and green is known to repel evil. Another suggests it's a play on words. The pink represents "cherry blossom" of spring, white represents "snow" of winter, and green represents "plants" of summer. Since autumn ("aki" in Japanese) is missing, it is "Aki-nai" ("Nai" means missing). "Akinai" also means, "You do not get tired of it" in Japanese. FYI, in the old Japanese saying, "Hana yori dango" (translates to "dango over flowers", meaning practical over the aesthetic), it is said that "hana" refers to the cherry blossom flowers, while "dango" refers to the ohanami dango.


Ohanami spots of Hamamtsu
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Hamamatsu Castle Park
Cherry blossoms Festival and Lit up in the night 2017 / 3 / 25 sat ~ 4 / 9 sun
Cherry blossoms Festival 2017 / 3 / 25 sat, 26 sun, 4 / 1 sat, 2 sun
Lit up in the night 2017 / 3 / 25 sat ~ 4 / 9 sun
Details for : http://www.inhamamatsu.com/activity/flower-park.php
Lake Hamana Flower Festa 2017 2017 / 3 / 18 sat ~ 6 / 11 sun
Details for : http://www.inhamamatsu.com/recommend/flower-festa.php

Okuyama Kogen
Cherry blossoms Festival late March ~ early April 10am ~ 5pm
Details for : http://www.inhamamatsu.com/activity/okuyama-kogen.php

Miyakodagawa Sakuradzutsumi MAP
★ The Princess Road Procession 2017 / 4 / 1 sat, 2 sun
Details for : http://www.inhamamatsu.com/recommend/the-princess-road-procession.php

Gansuiji MAP
Cherry blossoms Festival 2017 / 3 / 26 sun
Lit up in the night 2017 / 4 / 1 sat
Official site : http://www.gansuiji.jp/ (Japanese)


There are many other great locations to enjoy cherry blossoms. It is not too much to say that cherry blossoms = spring. Let's go out and enjoy the glorious scene of Sakura, only available for a limited time!





2015.3.26 update