Hanami Etiquette: All the Dos and Don’ts of Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan

04:23 03/13/2024

As the weather is moving closer to spring, the long-awaited Hanami season is also right around the corner. Surely nothing is better than admiring the beauty of the cherry blossoms while chatting with your family and friends.

However, did you know that there are certain rules that you need to follow during hanami? If not, then this article is perfect for you! This article is GoEMON’s ultimate guide on all the dos and don’ts that you should know before going cherry blossom viewing in Japan to get the best experience! 

I. Starting with the dos 

1. Check the rules and regulations beforehand

When it comes to Hanami, picnics under the cherry blossoms might be one of the first things that comes into mind for many people. Though not incorrect, this does not necessarily apply to all hanami sites: some may prohibit picnics, whereas there may be others that even allow barbecues! By the same token, there may be sites that do not allow alcohol consumption as well. 

Thus, it is important to be aware of the hanami site’s rules and regulations before going there. You can do so by accessing the official website of the location that you wish to visit. 

2. Make sure to come prepared

Another super important thing is to come prepared. In this section, we will list out the items you should bring along to have the best of the best experience!

  • The first thing that you should bring along is a picnic mat. This is a must-have item for those who are planning to go for a picnic at the Hanami site. Those who are not planning to have one can also bring one along to chill and relax under the trees.
  • Next up, don’t forget to prepare some food and drinks! Nothing can be better than having great food with a great view, right?
  • As there are foods and drinks, tissues are also needed to keep yourself clean after eating or to clean up in case you accidentally spill something. 
  • Coming up are trash bags. Hanami sites during these times are always extremely crowded, especially during peak season. Having a plastic bag to gather all the trash in before throwing it all away will come in handy. Make sure not to litter!
  • Disposable cups/plates/bowls may also come in handy, as you can just throw them away without having to go through the hassle of bringing them back home. 

3. Secure a spot beforehand 

As previously mentioned, hanami sites are usually extremely crowded, especially during the peak season. Therefore, make sure to come early if you want to secure a spot! Do be aware that this is a public space and only reserve just enough space for you and your accompanies to leave space for other people as well. 

II. And now the don’ts

1. Do not touch or get too close to the trees 

Always maintain a distance of a few meters from the trees to avoid accidentally bumping into the trees while walking or damaging them. One thing that some people would do is shake the trees and branches so that the petals would fall down, creating an aesthetic cherry blossom rain for the pictures. We strongly advise you against doing so as the branches are very fragile and this could cause them to break. 

Another thing to keep in mind is to stay away from the roots, as putting pressure on the roots such as walking, standing, or sitting on them can cause internal damage and harm the trees. 

2. Do not take home the fallen branches and flowers

Refrain from taking home the sakura branches and flowers, even if they fell down on their own. We know it’s hard to fight the urge to bring the beautiful flowers home, but it is best to leave them in their original location where they belong.

3. Do not be rude

As this is a public space with a lot of people, do be aware of your surroundings and act accordingly to not affect others. Especially if you are planning to have some alcohol, make sure to only drink in moderation and keep in check how loud your party is.

Additionally, make sure not to overstay your time there. Once again, hanami sites are public spaces and you and your friends are not the only ones who are going to stay there to watch the cherry blossoms. Make sure to leave after a few hours and make sure to clean up your spot to give space for others as well. 

4.  Do not litter 

Those who have been to Japan will know that the country has very few public garbage cans. During the Hanami season, however, there will usually be additional trash cans located at the sites. However, as previously mentioned, hanami sites during this period are always jam-packed with people. This also means that there will be a lot of trash, and most often to the point that the trash bins located there are overflowing. Thus, be mindful of the amount of trash you have, and if the bins are all full, make sure to take the trash home instead of just dumping it on the side there or litter. Let’s work together to create a clean environment where everyone can comfortably admire the beauty of the cherry blossoms. 

The article was GoEMON’s guide to some of the most important rules of Japanese Hanami Etiquette. As the Hanami season is right around the corner, we hope that it can be of use to everyone in preparing for Hanami trips with your family and friends!

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