So April is usually the month that cherry blossoms or ‘Sakura’ bloom in Japan. There are many festivals all over Japan that celebrate their arrival as it isa much beloved flower in that country. Sakura are a pretty popular motif on kimono and can be seen in a variety of styles from very realistic to highly stylized. Here on the right is an example of a Sakura pattern that has been highly stylized. Both types of flowers are Sakura in fact! Many times it can be hard to tell the difference between plum ‘ume’ blossoms and Sakura on kimono so here is a little trick. Sakura have a tiny indentation at the tip of the petal. So, if you’re ever in doubt look for this and you will know what flower is present.
When wearing kimono it is important to consider which motifs are on it since many are only appropriate to wear during certain seasons. Sakura is definitely a spring motif but I recently received a e-letter from Ichiroya talking about Sakura and when it is good to wear this motif on kimono.
Here is an exert from the letter. I hope you find it helpful:
I thought we can only wear kimono with sakura motif in late March or early April according to the time we see them bloom but my kimono dressing teacher told me, the period of time
which we can wear sakura motif is not so short.
“Since Japan is a small country but rather verticall long, sakura starts to bloom earlier (not Someiyoshino but other kind of sakura)in
southern area and then keep blooming until early summer in Hokkaido.(For example a kind of sakura starts to bloom in January in Okinawa and
blooms in May in Hokkaido).
Another reason we can wear sakura motif longer is that it is the most beloved flower in Japan. Chrysanthemums and Cherry blossoms(Kiku and Sakura) are
National flowers of Japan, and Kiku is because it is a family crest of Royal family. Sakura is no doubt a most loved flower of Japan. That is why we can(and like to)
wear sakura for longer time.
Actually kimono or obi with the design inspired by sakura – petals and blossoms can be worn without worrying about seasons. However many people say very graphic
sakura, especially with branches or trees must be very suitable for sakura seasons only.”
This little bit of information has given me some good insight about this motif and it’s nice to know that Sakura petals as a motif can be worn from early in the year till May!