The Cherry Blossoms of Japan
While Japan is not the only place in the world to find Cherry Blossom, it is certainly well known for them. There is something very beautiful and sobering about the Cherry Blossom in full bloom and when they are in season Japan is understandably a very popular place. Locals and tourists alike flock to prime locations to experience the Cherry Blossoms in all their splendour.
Japan alone has more that 200 different types of Cherry Blossoms, each one varying every so slightly from the next. The way that the tree blooms and then sheds its flowers only a week later is both heartwarming and heartbreaking and speaks volumes about life itself. Many people watch this spectacle with the thought in mind that lifespan is never as important as what you can create in that time.
When you are in Japan watch out for the sakura forecast that will advise you of when the trees will bloom. Many people try to book into a special hotel or retreat in a perfect position to observe the Cherry Blossoms in all their glory. This usually involves hot springs, massages and is a time to relax and enjoy this singular week of the Cherry Blossom's life. This is an incredibly popular time for holidays though, so all the best places will undoubtedly be booked up early on. This is certainly the type of thing that you need to book in advance.
Some areas are more popular than others for observing Cherry Blossoms. The Shinjuku Gyoen is noted as one of the most popular places, as is Sumida Park. Here they tend to bloom between the end of March and the end of April. Cherry Blossoms are very dependent on the weather and any dramatic turn will have a considerable effect on the time of blooming and the amount of time before the blossoms fall. The blossoms and leaves of the tree are edible, but can become toxic if eaten in large quantities. Often it is either turned into a tea that is drunk at weddings or used to enhance the flavours in sweets and buns.