A Sakura Celebration: Viewing the Cherry Blossoms in Japan

A SAKURA Celebration Do you have a birthday tradition? What about a birthday travel tradition? My friend Jared and I are two peas in a pod, we are goofy, love to sing (he is actually really good, me on the other hand….), and love to travel. We share the same birthday, and not just the same date but we are also the same age. Each year we like to celebrate our birthday in a different way; last year we went to Las Vegas, the year before that we celebrated in Denver, and before that Colorado Springs. I’ve known Jared for seven years and each year we have done something special for our big day. And as each year passes we try to one up our last birthday celebration. Last year’s festivities brought us to Japan.

Little did I know at the time the significance of sharing my birthday with the blossoming cherry trees.

Katie and Jared in Japan
Left – Typical Katie and Jared Right – On our best behavior

We also had a song for Japan

I mentioned we liked to sing, right? We will sing just about anything. Jared usually picks a pop song and I usually make up my own jam. I had the perfect song for our Japanese trip and couldn’t wait to share it with Jared.

In middle school I was in band and attempted to play the flute. The one song I remember by heart from my flute playing days was a song called “Sakura”. Sakura in Japanese means a flowering cherry tree. What I liked best about this song was that we would play a bit on our instruments and then we would sing. I always wanted to be in the choir however the powers that be (my parents) decided on band. Maybe that is why I remember the song so vividly, it was my one shot at singing.

Cherry Blossoms - Japan

Sakura lyrics

Cherry blossoms fill the air
Smell their fragrance everywhere
Winter time has finally gone
Now spring is here at last

*I Googled this song and NOTHING came up, I know I didn’t make it up. Tell me I am not crazy if you know this song!
What would be better than singing about Sakura while viewing the blossoms in Japan? Doing it with one of your best friends on your birthday. In early April, we were off to Japan with the “Sakura” song stuck in our heads.

Spring has sprung

Hanami Celebration - Japan

During the months of March and April the cherry blossoms are blooming and hanami is in full swing.
What’s hanami? It means flower viewing. Thousands flock to Japan during the spring months to view the short-lived cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossom hysteria

Crowd viewing the cherry blossoms - JapanThe Japanese and tourists alike are crazy about them; there are festivals, outdoor parties that last until the wee hours, and just an overall madness to see the petite pink flowers.
But why? The blooming of the cherry blossom represents a new beginning. It’s the start of the new school year for kids in Japan as well as the start of a new fiscal year for Japanese businesses.

And while all things end…

The short blossom signifies that all things come to an end, but there is something new waiting around the corner.
For Jared and I our last year in our 20’s was upon us. It was the ending of another year, and on to a new one. One with new experiences waiting around the corner. One with new friends to be made and new adventures to be had. One with new learning opportunities and new chances to grow. One with a new number behind my age. One with a new outlook.

Cherry Blossoms - Tokyo

New beginnings are right around the corner

I’m thankful I get to share my birthday with the cherry blossoms. Sakura puts life, age, and time into perspective reminding me that we don’t have forever, we have right now and all things come to an end but with each ending there is always a beginning. Jared and I spent our last few days of 28 singing the Sakura song while watching the cherry blossoms enchant all those around with their beauty, frailty, and promise for new beginnings.

Viewing the Cherry Blossoms in Japan

32 thoughts on “A Sakura Celebration: Viewing the Cherry Blossoms in Japan”

  1. I never knew that Cherry Blossoms meant new beginnings. That is a beautiful way to view such an amazing experience. Not to mention, sharing your birthday with that and your best friend is incredible.

  2. Sakura was also the name of a watch brand. Thanks to your post, I now know that Sakura is related to cherry blossoms, wow. What I liked most is the brilliance of your photos. Keep it up.

    1. I didn’t know what it meant either as a kid, then before I went to Japan last year I did some research and it all clicked!

  3. Wow! I’ve always wanted to view the cherry blossom in Japan, but for now it’s a bit expensive for me. Thank you for writing it and taking those beautiful photos! 🙂

  4. Thats sounds fantastic! Looks like u had time of your life.I am so jealous I would love to see cherry blossom in Japan ! Maybe I will go there next year to celebrate my birthday as well 🙂 Happy Birthday to you !!

  5. Cherry blossoms equal new beginnings? Awesome!
    Japan has been on my bucket list for the longest time but flights from Canada where I live are stinking expensive. Great to see Japan through your eyes while I wait till do so myself someday.
    Great post.

    travel | lifestyle | passion

  6. Ahh so beautiful!! I hate to say this, but I’ve never heard of the Sakura song… but it seems like the perfect thing to sing when enjoying the blossoms! I would love to see this in person one day!

    1. Thanks Diana! Haha, I don’t think many people have heard it but I promise I didn’t make it up. 🙂

  7. I did a cultural study some years back, including a lecture in Japan where some locals were playing a traditional instrument, and singing a Sakura song. It must be the same!! It started the same way at least, but the rest was in Japanese as well.. Got it spinning (sakuraaaa, sakuraaa, na na na) over and over again in my head now… Haha! Would love to be there to experience the blossoming myself sometime as well!

    1. It has to be the same song! It is an easy song to get stuck in your head. Oh no…now it is back in mine.

  8. What a perfect meaning to your birthday, your next year around the sun! Cherry blossoms are just beautiful. There were a few at my college campus and it would brighten up the whole quad!

  9. I have a special place in my heart for Cherry Blossoms. I haven’t been to Japan yet but I went to the Japanese gardens in London during Spring and I literally jumping in joy looking at the cherry blossoms. My friend is heading there next week. Hoping I’d get to go there some day! Btw, wishing you Jared and very Happy Birthday!

  10. So pretty! It’s so nice that you get to spend your birthdays during hanami, it makes it special and memorable. And the meaning is just so apt for new beginnings. 🙂

    We’re heading to Japan next week for this very reason – sakura has been on my bucket list for a while now and I’m excited that it’s finally happening!

  11. I’d love to visit Japan during the Cherry Blossom blooming at some point! I saw them in Washington DC and they were amazing there too. And that sounds so much fun what you and your friend do for your birthdays! I always want to go somewhere on mine, but it’s at the beginning of March when the weather is crappy here so I can’t really go anywhere because it may snow so it’s tough… but congrats to you on another year and hope you pick an equally great place to visit next year! 🙂

  12. I don’t plan ahead for my birthday as I love to surprise myself on my day. But I love yours and Jared’s birthday travels especially the last two ones in Las Vegas and Japan. Japan is one of my top list to visit and probably will come visit either on winter season (as I have not experienced Winter, I live in a tropical island). Love your experience in that place with the cherry blossom absolutely a dream true for everyone too wanting to experience such.

  13. Oh the Sakura in Japan is too beautiful for words. Would love to know where in Japan you chose to do hanami? Your photos are so so lovely, I especially love the last one!

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