Sakura: Cherry Blossom Viewing in Osaka

by | April 19, 2019 |

Sakura: Sakura-no-toori nuke

Sakura: the Japanese word for cherry blossom. These delicate pink petals featured as supporting characters in my previous blog on Himeji Castle.

The thing to do last Friday night in Osaka was to go to the Osaka River walk and view the cherry blossoms. So that’s what we did.

Sakura-no-toori nuke is the Japanese phrase for cherry blossom viewing. It means: ‘without sakura.’ This ellipsis evokes the whole of the exquisitely phrased couplet:

Without sakura in the world

How tranquil our heart would be in spring

My less poetic American self translates the idea as: cherry blossoms create a frenzy. They really do, and I was right in the frenzy with everyone. The title image gives a taste.

Sakura: Ohanami

But, first, what you do by day is set up a blanket under the cherry trees, have a picnic, and play some sports.


This practice is a definite cultural custom and has the name: ohanami. The picture shown here is the spacious lawn in front of Himeji Castle. Families set up at respectful distances one from the others and make a day of it.

Sakura: Yozakura

So now it’s night, and you need a new word for cherry blossoms. It is yozakura, and you definitely want to see them. The place to do it is the Osaka Mint, Zōheikyoku. So another phrase for cherry blossom viewing in zōheikyoku no sakura.

Osaka Mint

Another view of the Mint:

Yup, that’s a big, huge coin up top. I looked up to see whether it was, say, a 500 yen coin. But it turns out it is not a specific coin

The walkway in front of the mint is known for having hundreds of cherry trees. As I understand it, this walkway is closed all year except for two weeks in the spring when the cherry trees blossom. Then, oh, boy! Throngs show up.


Bonus feature I hadn’t noticed until I posted this image: Osaka Castle in the middle

And the frenzy begins:


It’s a photo frenzy, not any other kind. And, as I’ve said, I was part of it. No judgement, only fun and amazement!


There are dozens of different varieties of sakura. I don’t know them, but I do know most are pink. Thus this white one drew a lot of attention.


I only went at night, and now these few days later, the blossoms are leafy. So I’ve resorted to a Japan Guide photo to capture the sense of canopied walk.


It’s not just a block of two of this cherry blossom canopy, oh, no. It’s a half-kilometer for the Mint part of the walk. The whole walk is even longer, because the trees continue on either side of the building’s territory. The sheer length of the rows of trees makes for an impressive experience.

I was put in mind of the experience one has walking under the tori gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto:


The walk under these gates seems to go on and on.

The Japanese do repetition for cumulative effect very well.

Sakura: Law and Order

There were lots and lots of police officers:

I realized they were a helpful presence, only after someone told me what they were saying through their bullhorns:

“Move along, everyone! There are lots of beautiful cherry blossoms ahead!”

So, they were there to keep everything moving.

Sakura: An Occasion to Eat

Like everywhere in the world, any good festival is an occasion for street food. For this booth there are good hints that what they offer is fresh and sweet and involves fruit.

Less hints for me what going on here food-wise. Obviously the customers know.

I’ll leave you with this image of a booth under a beautiful, huge sakura.

See: All Asia Blogs

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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