1. It's literally half of the nation getting drunk while sitting under blossoming cherry trees
Starting about a month before the cherry trees bloom, news sources will typically release an estimated bloom time, so groups can plan their hanami parties. I didn't think you could actually (and accurately) predict when tree-flowers bloom, but you can, and it's a big deal.
A hanami party is when a group of people gather on a blanket near a blooming sakura (cherry tree) and, well, watch the flowers as they eat snacks and drink alcoholic beverages. Saying it like that makes it sound lame, but I promise it's super fun. It's also super-crowded.
2. Somehow, watching flowers on a tree teaches you about the fragility of human life
Te beauty of the sakura blossoms is fleeting. One week they are in full bloom, the next week the blossoms are shriveled up on the side of the rain gutter. Most of the Japanese people I talk to say that hanami teaches us about the transience of human life. Odd as it sounds, I believe it.
Because of the short lifespan of the cherry blossom, hanami symbolizes fleeting beauty. And human fragility. And a lot of other things I don't quite understand. But it's fun.
Check out the other seven reasons at Texan in Tokyo below!