It is one of the longest standing traditions in Japan and always eagerly awaited: Sakura season. Special weather forecasts give you instant updates as of which time is the best to see the cherry blossoms. It really needs a delicate equilibrium of various factors and even if you consider all, it is only a very short season, so you can easily still miss the peek bloom.
Ohanami roughly translates to admiring the Beatty of the flowers, literally it means flower watching. A more lose translation is: getting drunk in the proximity of beautiful flowers.
It is tradition for many companies to have at least one Hanami meeting, ours is today. It will be held on Sakura Yama close to Gokoku Jinja. If I recall correctly, I have written about the place before.
While many people will prefer doing Hanami during the day, our office partakes in it at night. It is one of the office parties you should never miss. The problem with it being at night is that it can still get quite cold. I remember last year, when we needed heat packs to keep us warm. Let’s hope this year will be a bit better. The weather is still good and it was sunny all day, so we seem to be favoured today.
Already from afar you can clearly make out Sakura Yama, it becomes quite obvious from the parking lot.
Up there where the lights are is the venue. Since it is a weekday it is probably less crowded than it could be. The spaces are rented out and come equipped with tables and seating mats. Once you settle down, you realise it is not very spacious.
The venue is in a beautiful location, however, the commercial touch makes it more of a drinking gathering than admiring the flowers. There is even karaoke here. The usual festival vendors are also not missing.
To conclude, Hanami is about the flowers, primarily. It is about gathering and drinking, too. If you want to experience the beauty of the flowers only, you need to go to the countryside, inaka. In any other case, drunk people are a side effect of Sakura season.