Cherry blossom and the pandemic - Waku Waku

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Cherry blossom and the pandemic

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Cherry blossom and the pandemic

First and foremost, it should be noted that with the pandemic era, everything has changed and the long-lasting traditions of Japan are not the same anymore.

Zhaniya Toktassynova

Zhaniya Toktassynova

Published on 16 Mar, 12:00

So, when I first came to Tokyo, I was expecting hanami, festivals and events. Instead, lots of parks were closed or had limited hours. So here is my Sakura experience that happened to be in pandemic time.

Cherry blossom is not just the most common association with Japan, it has a deep meaning rooted in history.

It is a new beginning, new season and new story which is brought with the beauty of blooming trees. As the freezing winter ends, warming blankets, electric heaters and heavy coats are thrown away.

The best time of the year has come, when you are not worried about getting cold, nor you are hiding from the burning sun under air conditioners or under umbrellas (as Japanese women usually do).

Yukata dressed woman under cherry blossom
Yukata dressed woman under cherry blossom

Whether it is a curse or a blessing, I happened to experience cherry blossom in Japan with the beginning of Coronavirus Pandemic. So, there were no massive crowds of tourists around, yet there was no celebration atmosphere that was expected to be around.

It is a common tradition to check the forecasts of cherry blossom across Japan.

Because every region has it different timings and even different months. So if the southern part gets to experience Sakura in April, northern Japan will wait for a couple of weeks more to enjoy picturesque views.

The most loyal fans of cherry blossom views and amazing photo spots of Japan travel across the country from south to north to catch all kind of regions being covered with pink and white flowers.

So much Sakura, so little time...

It is a known fact, that each area will have the full bloom of cherry blossom for around 7-10 days, so you will need to take care of the list for areas to visit in advance.

Tokyo has lots of parks that worth visiting even without Sakura views. However, the peak of visits are at cherry blossom.

Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen

We decided to visit Shinjuku Gyoen, the biggest and most common park that has a unique and versatile structure.

Once, we reached there, we saw the police walking around, to make sure that no one is arranging picnic and alcohol consumption. We were given the park map and the first thing that took my eye at the entrance was street food cafes, eateries and so.

The big field was full of people sitting on the bare grass, to compensate for the absence of picnic tradition, apparently.

People were taking photographs, enjoying the pure nature and having a different experience
People were taking photographs, enjoying the pure nature and having a different experience

At first, I was sad not to experience the traditional hanami, but then...

I realised that this short period of cherry blooming has to be experienced without massive crowds and with the food and drink not interrupting the intimacy of nature enjoyment.

Unfortunately, the tea house was closed due to the situation, but Starbucks was operating to the full and was stuffed with a huge line.

In general, the whole time spent in the park, I could not take my eyes off those pale pink flowers covering the "roof" of the park. The most memorable scene was wind blowing and entailing some white leaves, making the "snowfall" effect.

A girl under sakura
A girl under sakura

The most beautiful type - pink sakura

In the whole time of cherry blossom in Tokyo, I could see the first-ever in my life Sakura tree in my neighbourhood, close to AquaCity mall in Odaiba.

It was just one line of trees next to the road, but the colour of the flowers was juicy pink, which you could only see in anime. Interestingly, it was the only time and spot in the whole of Tokyo, to see such a pink type of sakura.

Around Aquacity
Around Aquacity
Pink sakura
Pink sakura

Sakura as a marketing plan

In general, I am always amazed by the marketing plan of Japan when it comes to seasonal treats. When Valentine's Day, New Year or Halloween comes, you will have to expect many food chains to announce their limited specials.

Sakura Frappucino
Sakura Frappucino

When cherry blossom approaches, whether it is a TV show decoration, food packaging, street billboards, they all have the pink flower tree.

My special drink in Starbucks was Sakura Latte, which is actually have nothing to do with the tree itself, but it has its colour and cute topping. I was also amazed by Sakura perfumes, which were sold everywhere, as well as Sakura matcha, sakura KitKat and etc.

Sakura views
Sakura views

As a whole, my experience with Cherry blossom in pandemic was unique, and this year I definitely will visit more spots famous for Sakura views.

Obviously, it will be less crowded and quiet again this year, but let's face it! The integrity of such a beautiful and short natural phenomenon needs more concentration with less distraction.

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Zhaniya Toktassynova

Zhaniya Toktassynova

I am from beautiful country called Kazakhstan I am married and we have an adorable child who was born in Japan, Tokyo My specialty is Tourism Management, that is why I love to share all my experiences of cultures and traveling destinations,and I’m happy to share with my current experience in Japan

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