Cherry blossoms are the perfect symbols of spring — not to mention one of our favorite types of flowers. From their bright, cheerful colors to their heavenly scent, cherry blossoms are the perfect pick-me-up anytime of year — even if we're only able to look at photos of the short-lived beauties. But we think what cherry blossoms mean to people make them even lovelier.
Meaning of Cherry Blossoms
In Japan, cherry blossoms are known as sakura, and they signify not only the start of spring but also new beginnings, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. They only last for about two weeks before the stunning petals begin to fall. But during the time when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, they hold a special significance to Japanese people; many folks in the country host cherry blossom parties with family members, friends, and coworkers. The custom they call hanami — which means "watching blossoms" — includes eating, drinking, and socializing with loved ones underneath the trees. Hanami at night is a real treat for couples watching the blossoms in a romantic atmosphere. Some people even pickle the blossoms to make hot drinks for special occasions. Sigh — it all sounds so dreamy!
As you might imagine, Japan has more types of cherry blossom trees than any other country — more than 200 total — so the cherry blossoms in Japan are especially impressive. But there's also some gorgeous cherry blossom trees in other countries as well, including here in the U.S. — many of which are actually gifts straight from Japan. We think after looking at some of these cherry blossom pictures, you'll want to send the whole country a big thank you note! Scroll below to see some of the most beautiful cherry blossoms of Japan and other countries in the world.