What is a Hanami?

Mount Fuji in cherry blossom season

Hanami is a traditional Japanese custom spanning centuries and literally means “flower viewing” in Japanese. The custom began with plum blossoms (ume) but the focus slowly turned to the more popular sakura or cherry blossoms instead and the rest is history.

In modern-day context, hanami usually involves outdoor parties beneath the cherry blossom blooms in the day and at night (yozakura). Even though cherry blossoms are the main star, plum blossom viewing (umemi) still takes place in some areas and are particularly popular with the elderly.

Here’s a visual guide to identifying flowers this season like a pro.

Types of flowers during hanami

What to bring to a Hanami?

Hanami in Tokyo

Source: maconmonitor.com

Here’s a list of hanami picnic essentials to have you looking like a local in not time.

Picnic Mat

These can be purchased from discount stores across Japan like Daiso or Don Quijote for as little as JPY100. It’s advisable to buy them beforehand as they won’t be readily available especially at prime viewing spots.

Disposable Utensils

Don’t forget to bring along some plates, cups, cutlery and napkins to enjoy all the glorious food!

Blankets 

Most locals will recommend staying till evening when the cherry blossom trees are lit up for a completely different experience. Since temperatures tend to dip after sunset, do bring along a blanket or a throw just in case!

Hanami Food

  1. Hanami Bento

    Japanese hanami bento boxes

    Source: i.4meee.com

    These themed lunch boxes are more decorative and elaborate compared to your typical convenience store bento.

    Here’s a list of must-have items in your bento box:

    • Makizushi – sushi rolls
    • Inarizushi – sushi wrapped in tofu skin
    • Tamago – Japanese style sweet egg omelette
    • Kamaboko – pink and white fish cake

    Other typical dishes to complete your meal:

    • Karaage – Japanese deep fried boneless chicken
    • Ebi – deep fried breaded prawn
    • Takoyaki – octopus balls with various filling
    • Onigiri – Japanese rice balls with various filling
    • Tsukemono or salads
  2. Hanami Sweets

    Hanami dango and mochi

    Source: flavourverse.com

    Your meal isn’t complete until you’ve had some dessert! Here’s 2 quintessential springtime desserts to try:

    • Sakura Mochi: Sticky rice cake filled with red bean and wrapped in a salted cherry blossom leaf.
    • Hanami Dango: Sweet dumplings made from rice flour and typically come served on a skewer in three colours – pink, white and green.

How to Hanami?

5 ways to hanami infographic

What to wear to a Hanami?

girls in kimono in cherry blossom

Source: worldlyresort.com

It’s a waste not to dress up for such a beautiful season! Go all-out with a gorgeous Japanese kimono and don’t forget to snap pictures while you’re at it!

Klook offers personalized kimono rental services – and you can even get your hair done at the same time! With outlets in Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka, you’re bound to find one near you.

P.S. They have options for men’s kimono too!

Enjoy up to SGD36 off your hanami experience! 

SG cherry blossom cover image

Save costs on your holiday to Japan when you Klook! This limited time only promo will have you enjoy savings of up to SGD36 on your purchases when you spend a total of SGD400. 

Simply cart out with SGD300 using promo code to enjoy SGD18 off, then use the unique promo code sent to your email for an additional SGD18 off your subsequent SGD150 purchase! It’s that simple. 

Klook me to Japan now!