Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of cherry or ume blossoms. From the end of March to early May, these beautiful, white flowers bloom all over Japan. The blossom forecast is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a couple of weeks. In modern-day time, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. Hanami at night is called yozakura and is usually accompanied by temporary paper lanterns hung on for this event. The hanami celebrations usually involve eating and drinking, and playing and listening music. Some special dishes are prepared and eaten at the occasion. Fine, but wait a sec. Are we in Rome or in Japan here? It’s Rome, but hanami has now become an international event, very popular in Eastern Asia and the United States, and increasingly known in Rome, too.
Japan lovers in Rome have been organizing pic-nics for Hanami around the EUR lake. This artificial lake, indeed, has a Japanese walk dotted with sakura trees kindly donated by the city of Tokyo about 50 years ago. Some people last year wore kimonos and yukatas. And you can rent boats to see the trees from another point of view.
And when does Hanami starts here in Rome? Today, until April 15.
Right after the end of the hanami period, from April 16, nature and Japanese culture lovers will have another great opportunity: a free, guided visit to Rome’s Japan Foundation gardens in via Antonio Gramsci, 74. Tours take place on Fridays (3pm-5pm) and working Saturdays (10am-12pm). Booking required +39063224794. The gardens will be open to the public until May 28.
Japan foundation is also hosting an interesting Japanese contemporary art exhibition. Read the story
With the contribution of Giorgio Copponi