Hanami, Yakata-bune, and don't be selfish!
Hanami in the bad weather is not a bad idea at all.....
As with last few years, we (our ever so shrinking family) reserved the Yakatabune to do the annual Hanami. There must be lots of posts about Yakatabune or Yakata-bune or Hanami on this site.
Basically, the boat is equipped with Tatami (but you can throw your legs down, so no worry there) and wonderful course cuisine (no, you can't choose) + all you can drink. You can rent the whole boat if in a big group, but most boats are like the public bus with many other people or group, although your table/ seat are assigned beforehand.
Last year was great - the dock or berth for the Yakata-bune we reserved was big and no one had to be outside and the dock accommodated almost 10 boats. Very organized. We called the same boat company but were told that all the boats had been "chartered by and for the foreign tourists". It is good if foreign tourists enjoy Hanami as well, but felt a bit sad :-(
And this year was badly organized. Different place, and only one dock where hundreds of people had to wait on the bank and 10s of boats come and go one by one - so, imagine the waiting time for everyone in the rain.
Please, don't be selfish!
One caution or advice I would give here.
As said, people in Japan typically wait for their turn. So, we waited for a while in the cold rain until our boats are next when we are allowed to go under the roof on the dock. The name of the next boat is called, and then people walks down to the dock in an orderly fashion.
But, hey, look at this apparent foreign tourists or expat family. I have been seeing them, but they just went to the dock and "enjoyed" no-rain area for a very long time. Even after our boat left, they were still there.
I am not here to preach, but "read the atmosphere". People are waiting in the rain FOR A REASON. DO NOT ASSUME YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE SELFISH. I want everyone, Japanese or foreigners, to enjoy the day EQUALLY. But in Japan, IT MUST BE FAIR. Again, DO NOT THINK YOU ARE SPECIAL.
This is an important advice who visit Japan. Yes, tourists are treated like tourists, but it does not mean you are special.
So, enough of my 2 cents and let's see how it was - to enjoy Hanami in the rain.
Not bad, foods, beer, wine, oh, and cherry blossoms :-)
As you see, inside the Yakata-bune is very "Japanese". Bad weather, but everyone was having fun with good foods, drinks, drinks, and drinks :-)
When we reached the Sakura Bridge, the boat stayed there for a while so that we could get up on the boat and took some pictures.
I wish I could post more photos of the beautiful cherry blossom, but I hope you get the "picture".
So, remember, for the next year Hanami:
- Reserve early (but it's like gamble because we don't know when the peak time will be)
- Do not complain about the weather.
- Do think of other people who are trying to enjoy as you are
I think this was the last weekend in TOKYO for Hanami. If you go up north, you can still enjoy Hanami. Hanami is truly THE best annual ceremonial thing for Japanese.....
Thank you for reading!