A perfect blossom is a rare thing.
You could spend your life looking for one.
And it would not be a wasted life.
—From the movie The Last Samurai—
During spring, cherry blossom (sakura) viewing parties (hanami) and cherry blossom festivals are held all over Japan. Cherry blossom viewing has been a Japanese custom since the 7th century when the aristocrats enjoyed looking at the cherry blossoms and wrote poems. People drink, eat, and sing during the day and night. It is like a picnic.
From late March to early April, sakura go into full bloom all over Japan. The blossom forecast (“sakurazensen” or “cherry blossom front”) is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a week.