Like every year, from early mid-March to mid-May, the tradition of hanami (literally, flower viewing) is in full swing in Japan. Under the magnificent cherry trees, the Japanese meet with family or friends for a picnic and a few drinks. It is a perfect occasion to celebrate spring season.
The tradition dates back to the Nara period (8th century) during which people gathered to admire blossoming Ume (plum flowers). In the 9th century, Emperor Saga transformed this tradition into a celebration for blossoming cherry trees.
The season of hanami and cherry blossoms has just started and it will keep on going North until it ends in Hokkaidô. You can follow the blooming on www.japan-guide.com/sakura!