Culture Spring Travel Guide

How to Hanami | Sakura Viewing Party Guide

How to Hanami in Japan? If you plan on visiting Japan this spring during the cherry blossom season, this guide is going to give you some ideas to enjoy a hanami picnic party.

Japan’s cherry blossom season delights all of us not just offering the stunning sakura blossoms but also hanami picnic party, exciting outdoor events, and variety of Japanese street foods to try from the food carts.

As hanami is approaching to some of the major cities of Japan such as in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Yokohama, Sendai, Akita we all get excited to be part of it.

Everyone is planning to have an enjoyable hanami for this year on their own way but we could add some extra fuel to it by knowing few other things. Maybe these ideas could match with yours!

More or less as time passes by we all would manage things to get the job done though I want to share some important tips in order to enjoy this year hanami with full of joy.

Ueno Park Hanami, Tokyo! Photo credit: Luca Mascaro at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

First of all, to those who have no idea what hanami is, I am highly pleased to inform you that “Hanami” refers flower viewing or so called cherry blossom viewing. It is an essential part of Japanese culture.

If you are a first timer in Japan to see cherry blossoms then I would guide you how to participate and celebrate Hanami here. In fact, it is not a daunting task, anyone can do it. Ok, let’s get to the main topic!

Pick a Perfect Hanami Spot

Its Taken! Ueno Park Hanami. Photo credit: Luca Mascaro at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Before you are going to decide it, make sure the weather is sunny and dry. When it rains out there, hanami sounds awkward! So don’t forget to check the weather report beforehand.

To celebrate your hanami party in the Japanese way, the first thing you need to do is picking a comfortable spot. How can we do it then?

If you are going to go to have a hanami party in the popular hanami spots then you must arrive there very early in the morning; I repeat again “very early in the morning.” Often they are very crowded, that’s you have got to wake up early and reach there on time.

I know how hard it is to get a perfect spot when everyone seeks to get one during this time of the year. So, the early you go there and pick the right spot the better your hanami would be.

If you are not aware of it much then someone would take it for sure. And thus you will be a loser. So plan accordingly and don’t you forget it!

Watch out for the Rules and Show your respect

You can’t organize hanami party everywhere! Photo credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Japanese are calm, modest, responsible and friendly. Don’t try to do any things that could heart us! Follow the rules in a good manner whenever you are assigned to follow them.

Hanami is all about celebration though you can’t do whatever you want, again there are rules!

There are certain rules that you must follow such as sometimes you are not allowed to drink alcohol, throw thrashes out around you and pollute the environment.

And please note that picnic party is not allowed everywhere. To find the perfect hanami picnic spots in Japan you must visit here.

Take all the Useful Accessories

Yoyogi Park Hanami Party. Photo credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

We need to have some very useful accessories or items that include outdoor blanket, paper plates, wine bottles, garbage bag and etc.

Choose a larger one (picnic sheet) so that all of your guests could have their own seats. One the other hand if it is large then you could place the foods and drinks on the picnic sheet properly.

Don’t forget to buy a garbage bag, please keep it besides you. You may get one for free from the park authority, last year I was lucky to get one from them in Ueno Park, Tokyo.

Some people bring packable wine glasses but I would suggest you to buy a beautiful sake set. I think it is better to have a sake set than having such wine glasses. Besides, you should buy disposable chopsticks sets.

They are good for our environment, no doubt! Remember that you need a box of tissue paper, wine bottle opener, disposable plates and cups!

Buy Hanami Bento

Hanami bento box. Photo Credit: kimubert at Flickr.

Is it your first time to celebrate hanami in Japan? If it is, there is another way to enjoy your hanami, just buy hanami bento from a convenience store or try to make it at home.

I guess making hanami bento for a tourist will not be a good idea. You are here for a short stay to experience stunning sakura, so I want you to buy hanami bento from the convenience stores.

However, if you want to make it, buy bento box at first. Seriously, without this thing your hanami party will sound pretty incomplete.

So, beware of it because it does represent hanami and spring! This sort of box comprises of delicious foods such as sushi, sakura mochi, salmon, shrimp and other spring vegetables.

Watch the live Stage Performances

A Parade during Hanami. Photo Credit: su neko at Flickr.

Many live events/stage performances take place in various hanami spots throughout Japan. Surly, they are not to be missed by any means!

Wearing attractive and beautiful attires numbers of groups perform their variety of live stage events such as dancing, singing, fashion show, poetry reading, koto playing, parades and etc.

Enjoy their spectacular performances by clapping your hands numerous time and. “OH HOW FUN! SO EXCITING” – says a friend of mine from Australia who had visited Japan last year during hanami season.

Toilet! Find it

It is not good to see a long queue in front of a toilet at the hanami spots, but it is typical experience that you could encounter there. I would say that you are lucky if such facility is provided by the authority. What if they don’t provide that? In that case, you have got to go to a convenience store to erase the toilet problem.

The technique is quite simple, just buy cheap things such as few chocolates, chewing gum or else and ask “Could you show me the way to toilet here please?” It works! Even though, it is not mandatory to buy things before or after using the toilet. I think politeness exists everywhere!

Where is your Camera?

A photographer at hanami. Photo credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

You are going to go to have a great hanami picnic party underneath the breathtaking cherry trees. Taking tons of photos of sakura blossom is a must-do activity in the spring in Japan.

Like many others, I just don’t spend my time at a hanami spot for picnicking but also take a lot of photographs of cherry blossoms. That’s what I do and like before enjoying a hanami picnic party.

No matter whether you are an armature or professional photographer, we all like to take photos of beautiful outdoor scenery. I wish you all the best, hopefully you are going to capture some gorgeous pictures to wow your friends on Instagram or Facebook!

Night Hanami Party! Please read this carefully

If you are to have a night hanami picnic party make sure you put a jacket on or other warm clothes to keep you warm. The weather in Japan during spring gets very cold in the evening, so you should admire my advice here.

Besides, if you plan on visiting a garden or park to see sakura in the morning, make sure you wear the right attire and avoid the cold weather. Carry a light jacket, and I guess you better wear it and set off your hanami expedition.

In Hokkaido, it’s cold and windy out there in the spring. Therefore, the best advice to you is put a jacket on before heading towards a sightseeing spot.

Placing Shoes

Look, how they place their shoes! Photo credit: Luca Mascaro at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

A hanami spot like Ueno park in Tokyo is very crowded. Visitors are everywhere, roaming all over it or sitting next to you, someone walks, someone eats, and someone talks to others! It is always good to take your shoes off and then have a seat on a picnic sheet.

Place your shoes behind you, outside the sheet or if there are more than four or five people with you who want to celebrate hanami with you then make sure you buy a large tote bag to place the all shoes in one place. In fact, we do it and I just shared one of my thoughts.


Drinking at the Hanami Party. Photo credit: Chris Harber at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Drinking a bottle of wine or sake together with others is one of the best ways of celebrating hanami. Pour some sake, drink it and feel it!

That’s the way to go and enjoy your hanami parties. There are variety of sake can be found throughout Japan, buy your favorite varieties.

If you have kids with you then buy orange or apple juice for them. Buy some drinking water bottles to ensure that you never run out of water.

Sing a Song if you Want

Why singing a song only? My advice is – sing as many as song you want to sing! People won’t bother hearing your songs.

Pick up some songs that are quite popular and easy to sing, hopefully other would join with you and together you all would be able to create a real hanami atmosphere. Best of luck!

Strolling Around

Walk around the Hanami Spot. Photo credit: Luca Mascaro at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Take a leisurely stroll along the designated paths/garden trails and make your hanami even much more pleasant than just sitting under sakura trees. It is typical seeing couples walk around the hanami spots holding hands of each other.

In fact, the atmosphere during the sakura season is very romantic. Even when you don’t have a lover, you walk with your friends. That would be simply an awesome experience.

Sometimes I prefer walking alone, it gives me freedom and I could roam anywhere I want to go. I like Hokkaido’s hanami season as the unspoiled nature there burst into life with variety flower blossoms.

I like to go on a hike through the designated hiking trails located in the national parks there. It is really enjoying and challenging being part of nature and wildlife in Hokkaido in spring.

Do you Like Reading Book?

Hanami in Fukuoka, Japan. Photo credit: Peter Enyeart at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

How long would you like to stay at a certain hanami spot? Based on this question you would like to do something that you like the most. I am sure some of you like reading book often outside.

If you are going to stay there for a long time then start reading a book. It is the best way of killing your time. I myself do it and enjoy my whole stay! Please find some good books to read here.

These are the things you must keep in your mind to have a great hanami party outdoor. In addition, try exploring the surrounding attractions of a certain area that lets you have an outdoor hanami picnic party.

I also suggest you to try the local specialties, even when you are not a foodie person like me. I think you can personalize all these things described above, I know your brain would let you do so. Please generate your own ideas! Thanks for reading this article. I wish you a good luck. Happy Hanami!


  1. I noticed there was a guided trip of 15 days tour Japan. Please send me the itinenary. Thank you.

  2. Please provide me any 15 days trip for Japan (without Hokkaido). I intend to go in early April.
    Thank you

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