Hanami (??沿??, viewing the flowers) of cherry blossoms is a major spring event in Japan.? Many people gather around cherry blossom trees and admire the fragile flowers, which will be in bloom for only about a week.
Cherry blossoms are not the only flowers to be the subject of Hanami.? Japanese apricot (罌?, Ume)?isalso a beautiful flower of the springtime in Japan.
The best time to view Japanese apricots in Tokyo is from mid February to early March, about a month earlier than that of cherry blossoms.? The best time of Japanese apricots lasts for about 3 weeks.
The old Japanese name of the flower is Harutsugegusa (??ュ?????), literally meaning ‘plant that announces spring’.? Japanese apricots were admired by the Japanese people as the first flower to show the arrival of spring.? Actually, Japanese apricot was the favorite spring flower of the Japanese, especially the nobles,?until around the 12th century, when cherry blossoms gained much popularity.? Cherry blossoms were?loved by?the Samurai?class, who?started to gain power at this age.? They thought?of cherry blossoms, whose life is brief and?falls beautifully, as the idol image of high-souled?Samurais.? There is a word ‘hana wa sakuragi, hito wa bushi (??宴?????????篋冴???紕?)’ which means ‘the best of flowers is the cherry blossom, and the best of humans is the Samurai’.