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How to "Hanami"
"Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)" in Japan often involves a picnic party to enjoy cherry blossoms as well as food and drinks. People have a Hanami party with friends, family or colleagues under the cherry tree and have fun. It seems the dazzling cherry blossoms in full bloom make many people get higher than usual. But there are manners and a certain way to have a Hanami party. And a good preparation may help you to enjoy the party even more. Why not enjoy spring in the Japanese way.

Must-have items for Hanami party

Having a Hanami party among Japanese may become an experience you will never forget. You will find below the must-have items to fully enjoy Hanami party. Most of them can be purchased at 100 yen shops.

Hanami party goods sold at 100 yen shops

1.) Picnic sheet
A typical picnic sheet in Japan is a plastic sheet. It will be better to get larger one so that you will have enough space to place food and drinks.
2.) Portable floor-cushion / Folding chair
If the ground is wet or uneven, your bottom may get cold or sore sitting on a picnic sheet. A zabuton, a small thin floor-cushion, or a small folding chair will help you to sit comfortably.
3.) Garbage bag
You need to take the garbage away with you when the party is over. It is better to bring a little more garbage bags than you think you need.
4.) Disposable body warmer
It is still chilly during the cherry blossom season which is from mid-March through early April. A body warmer is a must-have item for a Hanami party. The iron powder inside the warmer produces heat. One type of body warmer is to be held in the hand to get warmth and another type has adhesive and placed it on the underwear to keep your back warm.
5.) Paper cups, Paper plates & Disposable chopsticks
Paper cups, paper plates and disposable wooden chopsticks are very useful when having a party outside as they are cheap and light.
6.) Wet wipes/tissues
Wet wipes to clean your hands, etc. are called wet tissues in Japan. They are useful to clean your hands or clothes when you drop or spill food on your clothe as there may not be water readily available near where you have a Hanami party.
7.) Bottle opener / Wine opener
You will need a bottle opener or a wine opener to open a bottle of soft drinks, wine or other alcohol beverages.

Manners for Hanami party and things you should know

1.) Reserve a picnic spot on a first-come- first-served basis

It is a common practice to reserve a picnic spot in advance by spreading a picnic sheet. Sometimes the spot where only a sheet is left spread may not be taken as reserved. In that case, someone needs to be on the spot till the party starts. And reserving a larger space than you need is not a good manner.

2.) Check if Hanami party is allowed beforehand

It is not that a picnic party is allowed everywhere. There are places, including parks and campuses, where a party is not allowed even if there are many cherry trees. Please make sure if it is allowed beforehand on the website or by contacting them.

3.) Do not leave the garbage behind

Most of the sites for Hanami do not have garbage bins in place. You must not leave the garbage behind. Please try to minimize the amount of garbage and be sure to take the garbage with you to where you are staying.

4.) Be sure to have items to keep you warm

It is still chilly in the cherry blossom season. It may get colder especially in the evening. Be sure to take disposable body warmers, a blanket and/or a jacket with you.

5.) Find a toilet

Please note that there will be a long line in front of a toilet at the Hanami sites. And some of the sites have no toilet. You'd better find a nearby toilet beforehand. Although many of convenience stores will let you use the toilet, it is not a good manner to use the toilet without buying anything. Something cheap like a pack of chewing gum or a bottle of tea is just fine, so please be sure to buy something. It is a nice way to show your appreciation.
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