The History of Hanami, The Flower Viewing Event of Friendship

We hope you’re ready for more kawaii life lessons. Today’s lesson is for the Japan lovers and all about Hanami – the importance of this time in history and what it means for our lil’ kawaii family, DC Kawaii Style.

One of the most beautiful times of year is one of friendship and new beginnings – Cherry Blossom season! A time between March and April that says Spring is HERE ^.^ And what’s better than a traditional hanami, or flower viewing.

Of course, the best place to experience them is in Japan. BUT with a rich history of acquisition, the next best place is right here in the nation’s capital – Washington, DC.  

 

Sakura, known in English as Cherry Blossoms, is both the noun and verb for the flowering blossoms.

And, today we’re talking Hanami the history and how we do it, DC kawaii style.

What is Hanami?

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Hanami is the social viewing of Sakura ~

the experience of admiring cherry blossoms with friends, family, coworkers, or even a mix of all.

In America, the equivalent is just a picnic mostly. But this is like a picnic with a specific purpose of appreciating new beginnings.

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Hanami has been noted to be a custom that started in the Nara Period of Japan (710-794), gaining attention and popularity in the Heian Period (794-1185).

Crazy things is that this was once limited to the elite, only. But now … it’s as modern day experience for everyone in Japan and globally.

Which means that you can too!

How to Hanami

Hanami has usually been accompanied with food and Sake~

If you’re a foodie, you’ll find that specially made dishes like dango – a Japanese dumpling made from rice flour (Mochiko) and bento – a specially made packed lunch are special this time of year. (pssst … you’ll get to know about bento a little bit later)

And you’ll be delighted to know there’s also dance and music.

Along with poetry shared to praise the beauty of the flowers.

If you’re in the city, you might want to try “Yozakura” meaning night sakura.

For this style of flower viewing, traditionally, hanami goers view the cherry blossoms under the light of paper lanterns.

But if you’re not in Japan you’ll have to get creative for a night viewing of cherry blossoms! Maybe by candlelight ~

Either way, whether near or far, a hanami experience is at your fingertips.

D.C. Kawaii Style Hanami

Just in case you need a more relatable experience, here’s a look at D.C. Kawaii Style community’s Hanami ~

The day started with a Harajuku Fashion Walk that ended at the National Monument.

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There we always find a group spot to plop down, spreading blankets and laying out the food spreads.

Dressed in various Jfashion styles in the middle of a crowded D.C. landmark, we often stick out. But who cares! ^.^

Over some baked and bought goodies and Sake, we share smiles and conversation that help strengthen our bonds as a community.

Always a magical time for us, we hope you can experience one day too.

So, if you ever want an excuse to sit and eat with friends trust! Hanami is one of the best times to get it in ~

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Harajuku Fashion Walks, History + Showcase of Japanese Street Fashion in DC

Let’s take a journey to where it all begins, the best showcase of Japanese street fashion. Here’s the History of Harajuku Walks

If you have ever wondered why all these people start walking around dressed so vibrantly, cute, and freely, this is the post to learn about one of the most important events with J-fashion communities ~

Stop your day right now, and let’s have our first Kawaii Way lesson in Jfashion history.

Imani poses at Moshi Moshi Nippon clock by artist and sensational kawaii fashion icon, Sebastian Masuda

 
The History of Harajuku Fashion Walks

The first thing you need to know about Harajuku walks is its origin!

Jfashion, the common name for “Japanese Street Fashion” sprung out of youth in Japan and is what refers to a collective of different styles and trends that can be found during Harajuku walks.

These walks occur in the Harajuku district in Tokyo.

And the street, Omotesando (O-mo-teh-san-do) is the blossoming origin of these popular walks ~

When the athletes came to Japan in 1964, the street was overwhelmed with people trying to see the athletes who stayed in a hotel at the time. Later the street renewed its popularity when the LaForet Fashion Mall opened up in 1978.

The street further inspired fame when in the 1980s folks in the band scene and visual kei encouraged the space as a spot to hang out and meet up.

Going to a Walk

If you are blessed and highly favored, you might have the chance to join a Harajuku walk in Tokyo, they usually happen once a month. If not, then come out and start participating in Harajuku walks with local communities like DC Kawaii Style. Harajuku fashion has inspired fashion everywhere in the world. So much so, that often during these Harajuku walks in Tokyo, you’ll find a healthy mix of foreign Jfashion enthusiasts and lifestylers participating. Harajuku walks are the perfect space show off your outfits and socialize with like-minded people.

What to Know When You Join a Harajuku Walk:


Your Harajuku style is produced from you ~

Your mind is the driving force for this vibrant style, and it can be limitless.

The purpose of Harajuku Walks is to provide a space for freedom of expression. That space is for anyone who feels they are an artist, independent spirit, or just loves fashion trends. This style is retaliating against social norms for jobs, clothing, and attitude.

Some of the popular jfashion styles (which is not to be confused for cosplay) you’ll see during a Harajuku walk are:
• Visual Kei
• Gyaru
• Kogal/Ko-gyaru
• Ganguro
• Goth Lolita
• Sweet Lolita
• Decora
• Cyber-Punk
• Mori-Girl


There are so many styles, and often new ones are created on that historical street. And welcomes your personal style.

Fashionably it is an honor to walk down that historical street, but if you want to start closer to home that’s okay too!

If you have experience with Harajuku walks that you want to share, leave a comment on this post! We will be sharing more on the style, culture, and even J-fashion tips on The Kawaii Way.

While indulging in J-Fashion and kawaii lifetsyle, knowing the history of the movement is an empowering piece. Because the more you know, the more confident you become.

And confidence is the best feel for infectious Kawaii Empowerment.

Dig Deeper

Want some good reading on Harajuku Fashion Walks?!

Be sure to check out these reads  ~

Mookychick | “History of Harajuku Fashion

Japan Info | “Harajuku Fashion Walk: a Must-See for Fashion Lovers

Check out our past Harajuku Fashion Walk photo galleries.

photo from Moshi Moshi Nippon

D.C. Kawaii Style Harajuku Fashion Walks

We got you covered with a more accessible experience ~

D.C. Kawaii Style celebrates Harajuku by gathering for our largest event – Harajuku (in DC) Fashion Walk DC –  twice per year.

Ambiance and aesthetic are driving forces for kawaii culture – from coords to events. #AestheticsMATTER !!!

 





So our walks seek to create a nostalgic aesthetic.
AND a way to commune IRL, meeting new friends, trading tips & tricks for your coord game and taking all the coord snaps, together ~

*boom!*

Inspired and ever so grateful to the original Harajuku Fashion Walk, welcome to the tradition that is DC Kawaii Style’s 🌸HARAJUKU (in DC) FASHION WALK🌸

Grab your best coord, a picnic basket of goodies, some games and let’s enjoy the day together !✨

All events are easily accessible at DC KAWAII STYLE. COM

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Make a kind donation to our community’s mission + programming growth! We got GOALS mama! <3