Sakura, Sake, and Style

Posted: Apr 22 2014

Image via Flickr / Tokyo Fashion

Image via Spoon & Tamago / Ryosuke Yagi 


Each spring brings something magical. Whether it’s the melting of snow, the explosion of tulips, or spring break in a tropical paradise, nothing beats the season and celebration of the sakura. Across North America, Asia, and Europe, thousands of festival-goers are admiring the fluffy cherry blossoms in a custom known as hanami. In some places, the entire country is blanketed in the pale pink blooms that symbolize new beginnings and spring celebrations. Flower viewing has taken place since 794 AD in Kyoto, Japan, and today it’s one of the biggest festivals celebrated worldwide. It’s also one of the few times that indulging on sake is completely acceptable (and expected)!

Image via Gary Pepper / Carin Olsson


There is an ancient Japanese belief that eating and drinking sake underneath the fluffy light-pink petals will bring luck. As family and friends gather under the trees to celebrate the short-lived spring bloom, they also welcome the petals to fall into their sake cups. This hanabira, or falling petals, promotes good health and has inspired culinary delights such as sakura flavored mochi and drinks. Best of all, hanabira calls for more sake all around.

Not only has the sakura festival become ingrained in cities outside of Japan, its influences can also be found everywhere in today’s fashion and pop culture; international designers strive to perfect the shades of sakura pink in their runway collections, while department stores decorate their visual displays with blossoms alongside Spring promotions. Even Vogue gets in on the action with sakura wonderland photoshoots featuring ethereal looks from Rodarte, Miu Miu and Chanel. Not to mention the infinite amount of inspirational blogs, art, and tattoos that have sprung from the amazing experience of hanami.  

Image via Vogue Japan August 2013 / Sharif Hamza

Image via The Cherry Blossom Girl

Image via Culture Japan / DannyChoo.com

Hanami is definitely a party worth celebrating at least once in a lifetime. Good food, good sake, and good music are just a few of the things to expect at one of the many festivals held around the world. If you just can’t make it to Japan for the country-wide hanami, you can still catch a late-April event at a participating city in North America. And fortunately for us, we can get lost trolling Instagram and blogs for the best cherry blossom and sakura fashion pics of the year. 

North America Cherry Blossom Festivals: National Cherry Blossom Festival (D.C.)Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura MatsuriVancouver Cherry Blossom FestivalNorthern California Cherry Blossom Festival (SF)Annual Cherry Blossom Festival (Monterey Park)



By: Alicia Olivares

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