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Hanaikada: Rafts of Cherry Blossoms Adorn Waterways

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©Jiji Press Photo

Cherry blossoms in full bloom are closely associated with spring in Japan. The Japanese language has many beautiful words relating to cherry blossoms, and hanaikada, or cherry blossom raft, is one of them. When the flower passes its peak and falls to earth, cherry blossoms can make it look as if it’s snowing. But when the petals fall onto a river, they can form a ribbon-like band that looks like a raft floating on the surface. This is believed to be the origin of the hanaikada seasonal word. Cherry trees in Japan are often found around castle moats or on river banks, and there are many places throughout the nation noted as hanaikada beauty spots. The spectacle can be enjoyed as the “cherry blossom front” advances northward, starting from Kyushu in the south in March until it reaches Hokkaido in the north in May.