How do I hanami like a local?
Wherever you decide to enjoy a spot of hanami in Japan, doing like the locals do is an easy exercise. Simply bisit a local supermarket or food hall, stock up on food or opt for a convenient Bento box, arm yourself with a picnic rug and head to the nearest park. Take a moment to take in the beauty of the sakura and reflect on the ephemeral nature of life before tucking into your tempura.
If your taste buds are feeling adventurous, try some novelty sakura-flavoured treats like dumplings, crisps and canned drinks though be warned the taste is said to resemble a combination of lavender and soap.
It's a good idea to try hanami both during the day and at night for the change in atmosphere and appearance of the trees. Dusk is the ideal time to get out among the cherry trees as the soft colours of the dying light mean you get the best of both worlds as lanterns and lights are switched on for illumination.
It's a good idea to take a travel mug as you may want to enjoy a hot cup of tree under the sakura blooms. Take a copy of The Sound of Water, a selection of 200 haiku to immerse yourself in Japanese philosophy.
When it comes to the holiday planning, if you want to visit Japan for the cherry blossom festival, make sure you book well in advance as accommodation and transport sell out months ahead. Ideally you want your holiday booked a good six months before the start of the season. Talk to our tailor-made specialists or check out our popular Cherry Blossom Festival tour to get started.