Watching and waiting until the final petal falls: sakura season in Osaka, spring 2019

By mid-April, in many areas of Japan the sakura’s come and gone. That’s true for Osaka and the rest of Kansai – get your hanami parties in early, or drink under an empty tree.

We never wanna become people who look out the window and go ‘oh. sakura again. great’ and don’t get excited. Yeah, cherry blossoms bloom every year – but that’s an event! The first few days of the new spring season, a time of change and renewal.

A slow, delicate start to spring

From what we saw, sakura started blooming ‘on time’ this year, a little after the spring equinox holiday. The 2018 season started a week earlier than usual, and it kinda caught us out.

Once we spotted the first flowers out in the nearest park, we were hyped. Took as many photos as we could.

It wasn’t the only chance we had to take those shots. We had big hanami plans for the last weekend in March 2019. A whole afternoon out in the park, relaxing and enjoying the moment under some flowering trees.

And then it rained, like, all weekend long.

Our sakura pics from those days are okay. They’re not the worst shots we’ve ever taken. The flowers look nice… under that grey filter coming from the rainclouds…

With the rain came the wind. Strong winds that started blowing sakura petals off the trees. Bummer. Those cherry blossoms are delicate – if the weather sucks, wave bye bye as they get destroyed by Mother Nature.

Better to be there late than never?

April started, and brought some nicer weather with it (after a few days of more cold). We renewed our efforts to get more good sakura photos for this blog post. At DEJAPAN, we go the extra mile… or kilometre, when you’re in Japan… to give you an interesting read.

Evening and/or night sakura viewing’s something we 100% recommend. With (mostly pink) lights and lanterns all over the place, the cherry blossoms look even more beautiful.

At least, the ones that were still on the trees did.

Sakura season always feels like it ends as soon as it starts. That’s how ‘things change’ works… but that makes for a special time. Less of an ‘it’s over’ downer, and more of a ‘move on, keep going’ kick in the butt.

The final chance to see lots of sakura before the season’s over is at the Osaka Mint Bureau Sakura Walk in early-mid April. Many trees there are late-blooming types, so it opens about a week after peak hanami.

If we make it to that, we’ll update this post to let you know how it goes.

A taste of blossoming cherry flavour

Sakura season always means sakura-flavoured snacks and drinks. Well, it means more of them than normal. Sakura mochi, sakura tea, sakura latte, sakura matcha, sakura candy, and sakura chocolates.

Starbucks put out a ‘sakura chocolate with strawberry jelly’ drink in February – now that’s optimism. It was super early, but you know we bought and drank it anyway. Maybe that’s why we got so hyped… The Starbucks Japan sakura goods came along a bit later.

And the 2019 spring KitKat minis flavour was ‘sakura sake (nihonshu)‘. They’re not easy to find any more, luckily the ‘sakura kinako’ and ‘sakura matcha’ packs are still around.

Bring the sakura season to you

Are we gonna risk it out in the cold, wind and rain to see the sakura bloom this time next year? Of course we are. It’s near enough the law in Japan, we have no choice.

On Japan’s online shops, the sakura season never ends. You can find and buy pale pink-themed stuff all year.

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