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Susan Spann | Celebrating the Flowers of Japan
Author Guest / May 15, 2019

Japan is famous for the ornamental cherry trees whose blossoms—known as sakura—transform the country’s mountains, parks, and rivers with spectacular pink and white blossoms every spring. The delicate sakura are an iconic symbol of Japan, and with good reason. For thousands of years, Japanese people from all walks of life have enjoyed and celebrated these lovely blooms Cherry blossoms typically bloom and die within just a few days, making them an enduring symbol of the transience and fragility of life. During the few short weeks of the sakura season, people flock to parks for hanami (flower viewing) parties beneath the trees. The sakura may be the most famous Japanese blossom, but it’s far from the only flower celebrated in Japan. In fact, flower festivals occur across Japan in every season of the year. December and January mark the blooming season for camellias (tsubaki, in Japanese), and many people visit the island of Oshima, which rises from the sea about 120-km south of Tokyo, in the Izu archipelago, to experience the hundreds of varieties of vibrant camellias growing there. In addition to their beauty, the camellia seeds produce an oil that’s used as a skin care aid as well as for…