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Sakura, cherry blossoms

Drinking and eating under the glorious first flowering trees each spring is a tradition that has endured for hundreds of years in Japan. Artists in every era have tried to capture the fleeting beauty of the blossoms in sketches, paintings and brief snippets of poetry. The Japan Times is celebrating this most social of traditions with the tools of our day: tweets, photos and video captured on cell phones and curated online. Wherever you are, please join in and enjoy Japan's celebration with us.

Prime viewing spots

Where do you like to watch the pink petals of the cherry blossom trees fall? Let us know by tweeting it with the #hanamijt tag or commenting on Facebook and we'll add it to the map. And happy hanamiing.

View your favorite hanami spots in a larger map

Tweet your favorite hanami spot and sakura photos here.

Petals of the past

Sakura: Soul of Japan

The cherry blossom is not just another pretty flower. Pause to consider, as you feast, drink and carol beneath the blushing petals this season, how ancient a rite of spring your frolics are perpetuating.

Sakura, cherry blossoms

Hanami helpers and party pitfalls

Sakura, cherry blossoms

In Japan, when the little pale pink cherry blossom petals start appearing in late March to early April, it’s a cause for celebration, organized celebration. So what could be so hard about having a party? Plenty.

Celebrating friendship with Japan and 100 years of U.S. hanami

Sakura, cherry blossoms

Once an activity for the nobility of the Imperial court, hanami became a popular tradition among the elite ruling class during the Heian Period, and then later, with the encouragement of Tokugawa Yoshimune, among commoners.

Could 'Godzilla cherry blossom' save Japanese culture?

Sakura, cherry blossoms

Cherry blossom is as quintessentially Japanese as sushi and samurai.All three have one thing in common: their existence is transitory. They don't last very long before they fall to the ground, are eaten, or are cut down in battle.

"Blossom, blossom, briefly everywhere"

Sakura, cherry blossoms

Spring — the season of sakura (cherry blossoms) — is just around the corner, and it won't be long before the entire country is transformed into a fairyland tinted pale pink.

What's your favorite hanami memory?

Sakura, cherry blossoms

"There is a beautiful street of arching sakura trees near my house. People bring tables and chairs instead of blue mats. The atmosphere is more like somebody's living room."

Happy in the haze of a hanami hour

Sakura, cherry blossoms

The 1830s wood-block print below depicts hanami on the banks of the Sumida River. A group of young women and girls are on an excursion, and it appears they are apprentice geisha from licensed quarters nearby.

Hanami among the mountain gods

Sakura, cherry blossoms

Spring once again blushes the face of Japan, nowhere more so than in Yoshino, the nation's most famous sakura (cherry blossom) viewing destination and UNESCO World Heritage site.

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