Spring is coming! A spring festival in Japan that people do not want to miss is called "Hanami" = 花見 (はなみ). Cherry blossom in Japan, people enjoy the spring time and drink "Sakurayu" = salted sakura flower in hot water or "Sakuramochi" (Our article - Mochi Mochi) :
The filling is usually red bean paste (anko), wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf (Kansai style) and eaten in spring time and on March 3 (Girls' day in Japan called "Hinamatsuri"). As a decoration, a fresh leaf would be nicer. The red bean paste is from azuki bean and it tastes like many other desserts in Japan such as yōkan (a thick jelly dessert):
Japanese cherry blossom is known to be called "Sakura" 桜(さくら) which is considered to be the national flower. The cherry trees can be cultivated also in Switzerland. Swiss cherry trees look like this in the early spring:
A breathtaking outdoor activity is watching of cherry blooming or cherry blossom viewing is like a picnic under cherry tree or plum tree 李花 (りか). It starts to bloom in January to March or April, depends on the location. There are other flower blooming festivals in Spring such as plum, apricot, peach (Hina Matsuri = Peach festival):
In facts, many tree blossoms have similar colors like cherry tree such as apple and peach tree blossom. For example: "ume" trees, "Ume" = plum blossom. They bloom in the early of April - May in Japan, depends on the weather condition like in Europe. It is hard to tell from the far distance what exactly the tree is.
Only when you see red cherries hanging on the tree:
As the Cherry trees did not grow only in Asia, there are other Cherry blossom festivals in other places such as in Washington, D.C and in Europe. In USA, 2000 Japanese cherry trees from Tokyo in 1910 were sent as a gift to USA, the inspection team discovered that the trees infested and caused disease to local agriculture. Of course, they burned the trees. In 1912, two cherry trees were planted in the West Potomac Park (the U.S. national park in Washington, D.C.) to clearly define the event.
The first cherry bloosom festival was held in 1934, sponsored by private groups and became an annual event in USA. During World War II, the festival is suspended and resumed in 1947. This annual festival is called "National Cherry Blossom Festival", held in Washington, D.C.
The other cherry blossom festival in USA is called "The International Cherry Blossom Festival", held in Georgia every spring. It is not like the National Cherry Blossom Festival and for people of all ages to enjoy watching, drinking with other people. It seems to be a formal event.
In Sweden, it is located at Kungsträdgården = King's Garden in Swedish. The festival starts in May at the central park in Stockholm. Many events and outdoor cafés makes this place to be a popular place for meeting and drinking in Stockholm. Sometimes, the open-air concerts in summer are held, including an public ice rink during winter:
Cherry blossom in Europe, people drink local apple beer and other alcohols instead. In Switzerland, you can find some local cherry festivals or a cherry market in Zug where the famous cherries are grown and produced. After visiting a cherry market in Zug, Switzerland where they sold cherry juices, cherry beer, cherry cheese and cherry sausages:
When the cherry sausages are grilled, it looks like this:
Cherry fruits can be sour and sweet, sometimes it is hard to tell if you are holding a sour or sweet cherry. Let's compare!
Italian sour cherries:
Swiss sweet cherries:
Have you seen any differences from the images? Experts say when it is dark red, it is usually sweet, but it is not really easy for consumers to take the right one they like because it looks similar and dark red as well. But do not worry, when you buy them in the supermarket, the cherry type usually is labeled (sweet or sour). Do not pick the wrong one!
In western countries, there are many delicious desserts with cherries such as a cherry pie, a cherry cake and cherry cookies. Why don't you try a cherry cake with a cherry tea or cherry beer at the cherry blossom festival?
Enjoy your spring time and do not forget to have a picnic under a (cherry) tree!
Find the best cherry blossom festival on our map!