HANAMI (a MUST-DO)
THE thing to do in Japan during the spring is hanami. Even as a Japanese who has lived and grown up in Japan, I am still astounded by the beauty of the cherry blossoms. It can be difficult to estimate when the cherry blossoms will fully bloom, because the condition changes depending on the temperature of the season and the weather during the couple of weeks it flowers. In general, it is during the end of March and beginning of April.
My favorite aspect of hanami is going to the yatai (small stalls along the road selling food and snacks) and eating food while enjoying the gorgeous sakura. I often go with a few friends, walk along the road and pick up whatever food looks delicious, such as yakisoba (fried noodles) and jyagabata (boiled potatoes with water)! They have other Japanese-matsuri food such as yakiniku (meat on a stick), chocobanana (chocolate covered banana), cotton candy and ringo-ame (apple candy).
I also recommend taking a picnic sheet so that you can find your own spot along the road or in the park to sit down and enjoy the cherry blossoms. To enjoy the cherry blossoms like a local, it may be good idea to purchase a sake to drink with a few friends!