Experiencing Cherry Blossoms Hanami at Maruyama Park in Sapporo & Tokyo Bubble Tea's Sakura Season!

Not that I've been to many places in Japan already but my current favorite has got to be Sapporo in Hokkaido. If you've noticed, my "favorites" are tied with super memorable experiences, most of them like my first times, dates with J, new discoveries, rediscoveries, finding my way or when I had a change of heart about something :) For Sapporo, I got a dose of what they call "hanami" or cherry blossom watching in Japan. Since I can't zap myself there this year, I try to find similar experiences in Manila that make me reminisce about the real thing. Just in time because Tokyo Bubble Tea has sakura-inspired (cherry blossom) concoctions for this summer :)

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One doesn't have to go far in Japan to find cherry blossoms. You just have to be there at that 1 to 2-week peak window (you can Google "Cherry Blossom Forecast in Japan" or ask a friend in Japan if there are still some to plan your trip). As we were walking near my sister's place, we crossed this normal park and found picturesque spots already which are perfect for some quiet time. Sapporo's sakura has the latest blooming schedule of them all FYI ;)

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Honestly, there's this chance that you think you're looking at cherry blossoms and it's not - like that time we went to Kyoto and they turned out to be Japanese plum flowers. In fairness to the trees, they're equally pretty and do deserve some recognition so a bit of research will go along way I think.

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We had something else planned for this day but ended up changing it because my sister got a call to go and do hanami on that day. They said that cherry blossoms are good for only a limited number of days - once rain falls or once the wind is strong, the leaves will all fall out. We bought some snacks then went to Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen station exit 1) via subway and was greeted by this sight near the Hokkaido Shrine.

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We walked further along and I actually loved what I saw better. Friends, family, the young and the old were all gathered together for "hanami".

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Basically, we just pick a spot (take the ones near or under or with a view of sakura trees) and have a picnic while looking around us.

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People were just out and about with a common goal to do something as simple as appreciating nature.

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It was my first time to stop and go up close to a cherry blossom tree in full bloom.

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What a beautiful experience to be just even one white or pink one.

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At the end of the day, we finally settled down from taking lots of pictures and just enjoyed ourselves until dinner time.

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I guess we also weren't as prepared as others and the next time we get caught in this situation, we would know to bring real food to share than junk food haha.

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This Tokyo Bubble Tea experience is the closest I can get I guess for the meantime to the food part with the spirit of hanami left within me. The owners like Japan so much (and you can see that in the Japanese-fusion menu) and wanted to bring this spring season to Manila.

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For starters, while waiting, there's the Bulgogi Nachos - spicy and with a Korean-Japanese kick to it ;)

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Then they just launched 3 new Sakura-inspired Bento Trays and 3 Sakura JCC (japanese cheese cake cream close taste to rock salt and cheese in other milk tea shops) Milk Tea drinks. I got the Ebi Furai (Tempura) with Hamburg Steak. The bento is actually good for sharing and comes with a Sakura salad with their special sauce (made from banana), pink Sakura maki, miso soup, fried rice and the main meal. 

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The Sakura Soy Ginger Fish or the Sakura Chicken Katsu are the other options for the bento tray mains.

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They also launched the 3 Bubblets for this occasion - Sakura (the cute and dainty pink one), Midori (the playful green one) and Ichiban (the little prince) :) Because hanami is all about friends, TBT decided to introduce this friendly gang to add to our crowd that day.

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In their latest hanami episode video, Sakura loved the Sakura JCC Milk Tea (strawberry), Midori can't get enough of the JCC Green Milk Tea while the JCC Royal Milk Tea is for Ichiban.

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Kids and adults alike will surely enjoy these Bubblets for parties and events at Tokyo Bubble Tea Katipunan and Wilson branches (they have 2nd floors) ;)

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Lastly, their cake shop and patisserie Honeybon offers the perfect ending to this spring celebration with the return this year of the limited edition Sakura Mango Roll!

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Each slice has a creamy mango center and it complements well with the fluffy chiffon and sweet pink frosting :)

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