When translated, Hanami means “flower viewing” and refers to the 1,300-year-old Japanese cherry blossom festival tradition. This peaceful celebration of Japanese cherry blossoms appreciates each stage of the blooming cycle, and has since spread through the world – right down to the cherry blossoms in NYC. And at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Hanami is in full effect. But you’d better go now, because Mother Nature waits for nobody.
Despite its size and popularity, Washington DC isn’t America’s only premiere cherry blossom festival. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens pulls quite an impressive feat with its own cherry blossom festival adaptation, Hanami. Bloomscape enthusiasts from across the world flock to this botanical garden in NYC, where flowering cherry trees in the Prunus groves are hailed as some of the most spectacular – anywhere.
Hanami will have visitors entranced, wandering up and down the BBG’s Cherry Esplanade -as though they’ve just been transported to some alternate universe (one where trees are pink!). In one section, orchards of flowering cherry trees stand in uniform, while in another, threes donning their Japanese cherry blossom finery dance around a glassy pond. But enough imagining–you need to witness the beauty of Hanami in Brooklyn for yourself! Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is a true testament to the beauty of spring in NYC.
The cherry blossoms are expected to reach ‘peak bloom’ near the end of April, coinciding with Sakura Matsuri 2012 at the BBG: Brooklyn NYC’s own Cherry Blossom Festival. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens invites everyone to celebrate traditional Japanese culture and the arts from April 28-29 at the Cherry Blossom Festival 2012. Amidst the blossoming canopies, this event offers performances and workshops for all ages. With sword fighting, Manga artists, and Taiko drumming, this high energy cherry blossom festival is a whole different mood from Hanami’s more meditative ceremonies.
The activities of the Sakura Matsuri are fun, but these flowering cherry trees must be seen up-close and personal – so you’ve got to hurry! Before you go, check out the BBG website for ‘CherryWatch’ to see the bloom-status of each tree. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is just east of Prospect Park, and tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and free for the 12-and-unders. Visit Hanami on a weekday for the most peaceful (and least crowded) experience–but remember–BBG is closed on Mondays! So head over this month to the Cherry Esplanade and partake in the wonderful Japanese cherry blossom festival at Sakura Matsuri 2012 before the cherry blossoms fall to the ground.