Hanami in Japan, "Hana Yori Dango"
Updated: Apr 7
Spring has arrived so we would like to talk about this season in Japan. You may have heard of the word "Hanami" which is an important part of Japanese culture when sakura flowers bloom around the country.
"Hanami" is when the whole country takes time to relax and enjoy picnics under the cherry blossoms. We eat and drink all day with our friends, family or colleagues. Everybody contributes to the picnic with homemade foods such as makizushi or karage and bring their favourite drinks to share.
If you choose a popular place to do hanami then there are likely to be stalls that sell hot food and drinks and plenty of games to entertain children where they can win prizes like a goldfish to take home.
The season is followed very carefully all over the country and the news will report on the progress of the sakura blooming from Hokkaido to Kyushu daily. When will be peak blossoms, where to take the best photographs and when to get ready to find a coveted spot for your hanami. Sakura trees bloom for a very short period, only a week, and every year they bloom at a different time depending on how warm it is. This also makes picking a holiday to visit Japan for the blossoms a gamble that you have chosen the right dates!
This brings us to our Japanese expression of this blog, "Hana yori dango". "Hana" means flower, "Dango" is a Japanese round rice cakes often served with tea. The expression basically is "Dango more than flowers" which is the idea that practicality and necessity (eating) is more important than luxury or aesthetics. This also shows how important food is in Japan. As much as we love to enjoy watching the beauty of the sakura blossoms, we enjoy it even more with food and drink!
In the photo, we have sakura mochi that we only see around this Hanami season, a sweet and savoury mochi filled with red bean paste wrapped with preserved sakura leaves presented on a small plate with komon (traditional motifs for kimono) of our selection. Available on our online store and our new boutique, 20 rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris.
I hope you have a wonderful spring with plenty of food and sweets!