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Travel Icon: cherry blossom

HANAMI

‘Hanami’ is a word that sets Japanese hearts astir – literally meaning ‘fower viewing’, it conjures up images of cherry trees turning pink with the arrival of spring, and locals shaking off winter melancholy with parties, picnics and karaoke performances beneath blossoming canopies. The activity has been popular since the 8th century – writers have composed hanami poems, seeing the bloom as a metaphor for the ephemerality of life, while emperors saw it as an excuse to host elaborate banquets welcoming the return of warmer days.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - April 2015
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