How to Hanami in Massachusetts

In Japan, viewing the cherry blossoms each spring is a Japanese tradition called Hanami, which translates to “flower watching,” that dates back to Japan’s Nara Period (710-794.) To get the most of cherry blossom season in Massachusetts, there are a number of fun activities you can enjoy.

Hanami involves visiting locations with cherry trees and viewing the beautiful blossoms while engaging in leisurely activities. The same can be done here in Massachusetts.

Although cherry trees aren’t native to North America, Massachusetts is home to a number of cherry trees. Some of these trees were gifted by Japan while others are cuttings from the famous cherry trees in Washington D.C.

These beautiful trees bloom each spring, usually in May, with an explosion of pink and white petals. It’s a beautiful sight to see.

The following is a list of activities to do while viewing cherry blossoms in Massachusetts:

Take a Boston Duck Tour:

The Boston Duck Tours open on the first day of spring and the tour route includes a ride down the Charles River along the esplanade. The esplanade is home to a beautiful collection of cherry trees, which were gifted to the city from Japan in 1985, so it’s a perfect way to see these trees in bloom.

In addition, the esplanade is also home to other trees that flower in the spring such as magnolias, peach flowers, flowering crabapple and flowering dogwood so there’s no shortage of beautiful trees to view.

Have a Cherry Blossom Picnic:

A popular activity in Japan during cherry blossom season is to have a picnic under the cherry trees. Japanese people tend to eat traditional foods at these picnics such as a desserts like sakura mochi or traditional Japanese tea. You could do the same or you can eat American picnic foods like sandwiches, pasta salad and iced tea.

A cherry blossom picnic

Remember to bring a picnic blanket, a picnic basket, paper towels or wipes and plenty of food and drinks. Don’t forget your camera so you can capture the cherry blossoms in all their glory!

A great location for a cherry blossom picnic in Massachusetts would be the Charles River Esplanade in Boston, Boston Public Garden or the campus of Salem State University in Salem.

Have a Photo Shoot Under a Cherry Tree:

What better way to capture the beauty of a blossoming cherry tree than with a photo shoot. Find some beautiful blossoming trees and pose by yourself, with loved ones or whoever you want underneath the tree.

To compliment the beautiful colors of the tree and the spring season, wear colors like white, beige, pink, baby blue, and lavender. Avoid bright colors like red and orange or dark colors like black or dark purple. Those are better suited for autumn. Keep the color palette soft and subtle with pastel colors that compliment the cool pink cherry blossom tones!

Go For a Stroll Under the Cherry Trees:

Going for a walk under the cherry trees is a great way to see the beautiful blossoms while also getting some exercise.

If there are a number of places around your town where the trees are blossoming, plan a hike or walk through all the areas to see the beautiful landscape dotted with blossoming cherry trees.

Some places in Boston where you can enjoy a walk under some cherry trees includes Boston Public Garden, the Charles River Esplanade, along the Freedom Trail and at the Arnold Arboretum.

Take a Scenic Drive:

If you want to see a lot of these beautiful blossoming trees but the areas where they are blossoming are far apart, take a scenic drive to the various areas to see the trees in bloom. People often do this in the autumn with the fall foliage so why not do it in the spring with the cherry blossoms too?

If you are in Boston or on the North Shore, take a drive by the Charles River Esplanade in Boston, drive through some of the neighborhoods in Boston with cherry trees like Beacon Hill, the Back Bay and Charlestown and continue the drive on up to Salem where you can see the cherry blossoms in bloom on the Salem State University campus and in front of the Salem Witch House.

“Hanami.” National Park Service,
Aiello, Anthony S. “Japanese Flowering Cherries —A 100-Year-Long Love Affair.” Arnold Arboretum, 15 Nov. 2012,

About William Briscoe

William Briscoe is a seasoned travel blogger and adventurer based in Massachusetts. With a passion for exploring hidden gems and sharing his travel experiences, Briscoe's website, "Mass Attractions," has become a go-to resource for those seeking seasonal attractions in Massachusetts. In addition to his website, William has contributed travel stories and articles to various travel publications, and his work has been featured in several magazines and online platforms. He also collaborates with tourism boards and travel companies to promote sustainable and responsible travel practices. William enjoys exploring the scenic beauty of New England, spending time with his family and two rescue dogs, and experimenting with classical New England recipes in his kitchen. He holds a degree in English Literature from Boston University, which he believes laid the foundation for his writing skills.

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