• SAKURA - Cherry blossoms -

    Cherry blossoms bloom from the end of March to the beginning of April all over Japan. Japanese love cherry blossoms especially Somei Yoshino as the flower beautifully bloom and the petals gracefully fall in a short period of time, which reminds people of the concept of “nothing is permanent” and the aesthetics of “things should end gracefully without regret”. These Japanese cherry blossom trees are cultivated for ornamental use and does not produce any cherries.  Japanese traditionally hold outdoor parties called Hanami (Hana=flowers, Mi=watching) under the cherry blossom trees, celebrating the beautiful sight and enjoying food and drinks with family, friends and colleagues. Some people even stay overnight at the park to get a good spot for cherry blossom viewing.The imbibing of alcohol in public places might be a problem or illegal in some countries, but in Japan it is totally acceptable to enjoy drinking alcohols in the park. In this Hanami season there are more people going out and enjoying drinking under the trees. Oversea guests might be amazed to see such scene with stunning cherry blossoms and joyful people in the park.Japan is a long country and becomes gradually warmer from the south to north when the season changes from winter to spring. Cherry blossoms also bloom from the south to the north. The Japan Metrological Agency is responsible for declaring the official announcement that cherry blossoms have started to bloom. Around the beginning of March right before the season, they issue cherry blossom forecasts every week and people look forward to the blooming. The peak bloom period depends on the place. Your stay will be more priceless if you check the forecast before you visit Japan. Let's enjoy Hanami party together!

  • KAFUNSHOU – Hay Fever -

    The 11th of February is a national holiday called KENKOKU (national foundation) KINENBI (anniversary day). Old Japanese mythology says that it was on the 11th of February that the first emperor JIMMU ascended the throne and started the nation.  After this National Foundation Day, there comes a time when people need to get ready for it… Hay fever called KAFUNSHOU in Japanese is recently one of the serious social problems in Japan. It is said that more than half of Japanese suffer from pollen allergies. The cause of this national issue is lots of pollen of cedars and cypresses in the air. Many trees were cut down for fuel and material during the World War II. After the war the government planted many cedars and cypresses in the mountains as these trees grow fast. The trees were planted to rebuild houses destroyed in the war, but as inexpensive lumber imported from abroad were used for housing instead, these cedars and cypresses have left in the mountains without being cut down and the pollen is being dispersed by the wind. During spring season from February to May many Japanese suffer from the pollen of cedars and cypresses. When you get KAFUNSHOU, you have a runny and blocked nose, itchy eyes and throat, keep sneezing and feel drowsy. People put a mask on and even ware glasses when they go out to prevent pollen getting in their mouth and eyes. Some need to take drugs for the allergy. People allergic to pollen are having a really hard time every day till it goes away. What is worse, there is ragweed pollen in autumn, too. Therefore, some people suffer from hay fever almost all year round.Spring is a wonderful time to visit Japan, pleasant weather to travel around, beautiful cherry blossoms, but if you visit Japan during this pollen season, you might have to be ready for KAFUNSHOU. Good luck to your stay in spring!<Forecast of HAY FEVER>