DC to Japan

The History of Hanami, The Flower Viewing Event of Friendship

One of the most beautiful times of year is one of friendship and new beginnings – Cherry Blossom season! A time between March and April that says Spring is HERE ^.^ And what’s better than a traditional hanami, or flower viewing.

Of course, the best place to experience them is in Japan. BUT with a rich history of acquisition, the next best place is right here in the nation’s capital – Washington, DC.  


Sakura, known in English as Cherry Blossoms, is both the noun and verb for the flowering blossoms.

And, today we’re talking Hanami the history and how we do it, DC kawaii style.

What is Hanami?

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Hanami is the social viewing of Sakura ~

the experience of admiring cherry blossoms with friends, family, coworkers, or even a mix of all.

In America, the equivalent is just a picnic mostly. But this is like a picnic with a specific purpose of appreciating new beginnings.


Hanami has been noted to be a custom that started in the Nara Period of Japan (710-794), gaining attention and popularity in the Heian Period (794-1185).

Crazy things is that this was once limited to the elite, only. But now … it’s as modern day experience for everyone in Japan and globally.

Which means that you can too!

How to Hanami

Hanami has usually been accompanied with food and Sake~

If you’re a foodie, you’ll find that specially made dishes like dango – a Japanese dumpling made from rice flour (Mochiko) and bento – a specially made packed lunch are special this time of year. (pssst … you’ll get to know about bento a little bit later)

And you’ll be delighted to know there’s also dance and music.

Along with poetry shared to praise the beauty of the flowers.

If you’re in the city, you might want to try “Yozakura” meaning night sakura.

For this style of flower viewing, traditionally, hanami goers view the cherry blossoms under the light of paper lanterns.

But if you’re not in Japan you’ll have to get creative for a night viewing of cherry blossoms! Maybe by candlelight ~

Either way, whether near or far, a hanami experience is at your fingertips.

D.C. Kawaii Style Hanami

Just in case you need a more relatable experience, here’s a look at D.C. Kawaii Style community’s Hanami ~

The day started with a Harajuku Fashion Walk that ended at the National Monument.

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There we always find a group spot to plop down, spreading blankets and laying out the food spreads.

Dressed in various Jfashion styles in the middle of a crowded D.C. landmark, we often stick out. But who cares! ^.^

Over some baked and bought goodies and Sake, we share smiles and conversation that help strengthen our bonds as a community.

Always a magical time for us, we hope you can experience one day too.

So, if you ever want an excuse to sit and eat with friends trust! Hanami is one of the best times to get it in ~


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The History of Hanami, The Flower Viewing Event of Friendship was originally published on The KAWAII Way

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