The eighth-century chronicle Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) records hanami festivals being held as early as the third century AD.Most Japanese schools and public buildings have cherry blossom trees outside of them.Edible cherries generally come from cultivars of the related species Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus.Cherry blossom are also closely related to other Prunus trees such as the almond, peach, plum and apricot, and more distantly to apples, pears and roses.
The custom of hanami dates back many centuries in Japan.
They bloom and usually fall within a week, before the leaves come out.
Therefore, the trees look nearly white from top to bottom.
There is at least one popular folk song, originally meant for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), titled "Sakura", and several pop songs.
The flower is also represented on all manner of consumer goods in Japan, including kimono, stationery, and dishware.
Tokugawa Yoshimune planted areas of cherry blossom trees to encourage this.