Explore the pages of this pictorial essay to experience the rich symbolism and ethereal beauty of the Japanese cherry blossom. The ornamental cherry trees, known as Sakura in Japan, not only announce the closing days of winter and the arrival of spring, but are also revered as an omen of good fortune in a society deeply rooted in tradition. For thousands of years to celebrate the arrival of the Sakura, the Japanese people have organized hanami parties to gather under the flowering trees to ponder the transient nature of life, as the cherry blossoms bloom in extreme beauty followed by a quick death due to their abbreviated blooming season, thought to be much like the samurai warriors who were considered to have relatively short life spans. Today’s hanami parties serve as much more than an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of life as families and revelers gather to honor their beauty and picnic and party in large numbers under the cascading foliage. It is common for corporate fiscal years and school years to coincide with the cherry blossom season, underscoring the cultural significance of these exquisite pink and white flowers that sometimes appear from a distance as magnificent clouds due to the intensity of the blooms arcing together in a splendid display of Mother Nature at her very best.