The Japanese cherry blossom, known as the Sakura in Japanese, is the flower of a cherry tree that is cultivated for its decorative features rather than for cherries (it doesn’t bear fruit). The blooming cherry blossoms herald the beginning of the centuries-old Hanami festival – the traditional Japanese custom of picnicking under trees rich with flowering Sakura branches and enjoying this short but striking first breath of spring. Desktop users: right click on the image and choose "save image as" or "set as desktop background".

The blossoming wave usually starts in Okinawa in January or February and progresses through all of Japan until April or May. The blooming period is associated with Japanese traditions, culture, aesthetics, and is a bittersweet metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life itself. The cherry blossom front (Sakura zensen) can be conveniently tracked every year using this calendar.

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