Spring Cherry blossom festival at 1000 Sakura park Tokyo
In Japanese tradition Cherry blossoms represent rejuvenation. After the bitter cold winter comes spring holding the hands of Cherry blossom. When it arrives it covers the neighborhood with gorgeous bloom. Somewhat akin to the old saying that tough times don’t last forever. And when the good times finally come it showers a fortune on the believer. For the Japanese Shinto who worshiped nature as God, Cherry blossoms thus are a direct revelation of the mystique. It’s the same kind of association as is Christmas in Christianity or Passover in Judaism. It’s time to forget the mundane, get out enjoy the beauty of nature with friends and family. In fact viewing the cherry blossoms while having a feast is a tradition with a name – Hanami. In pockets where there are Cherry blossom trees the entire neighborhood comes out and celebrates, sometimes with song and dance.
The SenBonZakura that is 1000 Sakura park in the Ojima Komatsugawa area at the eastern fringe of Tokyo is one such area. Originally a low lying marsh land, this area was reclaimed and developed with green parks and planned neighborhood by the side of river Arakawa. As a symbol of this regeneration cherry blossom trees were planted in droves along the Arakawa river banks. In due time the trees grew into famed 1000 sakuras that shroud the neighborhood in the 1st week of April. A grand neighborhood celebration follows. Temporary food stalls are set up. Visitors pitch tents in variety of shapes and colors. Song and dances by neighborhood artists grace a temporary stage. Horseback riding, traditional drumming performances (Taiko) and various such other attractions add to the ambiance.
Kids joyful shrieks playing with their friends, with their doting parents and grandparents fill in the surroundings. Scent of incense sticks lit in the alter of the family deity permeates through. Ladies in gorgeous traditional kimonos arrange Tea Ceremony, if nothing but for keeping the tradition alive and educating the current generation.
Over the years the celebration has grown and turned into a local matsuri (festival) of its own. Like other years this year’s celebration for year 2016 was gorgeous as well. Presented in photos here are glimpses of the festivities. To listen to the sounds of Taiko drums, Horagais (traditional horns made from conch shells) and to see excerpts of the live performances, follow the below YouTube link.
If interested in more images and best cherry blossom viewing locations please go to following links.
As they say life is ethereal and so are the cherry blossoms. The Japanese hold this association close to heart and tries to live every moment of the one or two weeks that the blossoms last. This article is just an effort to extend that feeling across to a wider audience, and make it last a little longer. Hope you enjoyed it. Do subscribe below to keep receiving more stories in your mailbox as soon as published. Cheers