"Hanami" is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming sakura or ume tree.The custom is said to have started during the Nara period (710–794), when it was ume blossoms that people admired in the beginning, but by the Heian period (794–1185) cherry blossoms came to attract more attention, and hanami was synonymous with sakura. The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society and, by the Edo period, to the common people as well.The eighth-century chronicle Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) records hanami festivals being held as early as the third century AD.Most Japanese schools and public buildings have cherry blossom trees outside of them.
Arguments that the plans for the Battle of Leyte Gulf, involving all Japanese ships, would expose Japan to serious danger if they failed, were countered with the plea that the Navy be permitted to "bloom as flowers of death".
Hanami festivals celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom and for many are a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful view.
The custom of hanami dates back many centuries in Japan.
Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front) as it moves northward up the archipelago with the approach of warmer weather via nightly forecasts following the weather segment of news programs.
The blossoming begins in Okinawa in January, and typically reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March or the beginning of April.