Why do Japanese like cherry blossoms so much ?

“Why do Japanese like Cherry blossoms so much ?” I’m very often asked this question from the tourists from overseas. 

 In civil war period when Samurai warrior lost the war they preferred to die beautifully than live in shame. So they committed suicide by harakiri, cutting his belly. This mentality may be succeeded to even now, and the Japanese like beautiful and short lived cherry blossoms.

opening of cherry blossom

Cherry blossom flowering at Yasukuni shrine

The most popular is “Somei Yoshino” species cloned by grafting during Edo period. “Somei Yoshino” bloom at stretch and last only for two weeks until they beautifully fall like cherry blossom showering. When one “Somei Yoshino” starts to bloom at Yasukuni shrine the meteorological agency announces the flowering of cherry blossom. When they are in full bloom the people spread sheets under cherry trees and enjoy Hanami picnic eating bento and drinking  while viewing cherry blossoms. To secure the space for cherry blossom picnic is the first important mission for the new employees.

cherry blossom at river

How many species of cherry blossom are there in Japan? I hear there are 600!! but the original ones are only nine species. Some are flowering in winter but most in spring. April is the season of entrance ceremony at school and company and cherry blossom season is the starting point of the new life.