Having a Hanami under the Sakuras in Stockholm

Winter’s out and Spring’s in, in Stockholm that means that doesn’t mean a thing… its still cold.

I’m being cynical, because there is a clear scene change around the city, leaves start grow on the once sullen tree branches, the grass turns green and the days get longer. The best sign that spring has arrived in Stockholm however is when the Sakuras bloom at Kungstradgarden.

Sakuras, or Cherry Blossoms, are flowers that grow in the temperate regions of mostly Asia, and most popularly in Japan. If China has panda diplomacy, than Japan pioneered Sakura diplomacy, as many western countries have sakura trees and sakura viewing festivals in their city area, as a result of gifts from Japan. These methods of diplomacy have the effect of spreading soft power and cultural influence of a country.

The bloom festival in Stockholm is usually celebrated with not just the flowers but also a massive festival of all things Japanese, including martial arts and dance performances. This festival, or matsuri, draws huge crowds, which sort of makes it a hanami, an outdoor viewing party.

One needs to go there fast though, since sakuras bloom at the start of Spring and drop after a week. This was the sight that greeted me a few days after the bloom period.

I still took a swing of glass and had my own little Hanami.

It was still amazing.

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