In Japan, it is currently spring and what better represents spring than the cherry blossom. Cherry blossom or sakura (桜) is a flower that is widely praised in its home country, Japan. Because cherry blossoms have short blooming times and are fragile, they have been used to symbolize the transience of life; this symbolism meshed well with the teachings of Buddhism . The cherry blossom is actually considered the de facto floral emblem of Japan. In reality, Japan does not have a floral emblem, but the cherry blossom is such a part of their culture than many considered it so. Edit: The Chrysanthemum is used to represent the Japanese royal family, but it is also considered the floral emblem of Japan.
Within Japan, there are hundreds of varieties that can be found within Japan. The most popular variety is the ‘Somei Yoshino (ソメイヨシノ)’, a white flower with a tinge of pink at its stem.
Number of Petals
Most cherry blossoms come with five petals per flower, trees with blossoms that exceed that number are known collectively as ‘yaezakura (八重桜)’.
Colors of Blossom
Most varieties produce light pink to white blossoms, but there are also cherry trees with dark pink, yellow or green blossoms. Furthermore, the color of some varieties' cherry blossoms may change while they are in bloom. For example, a blossom may open as a white flower and change color to pink over the course of a few days. 
Cherry Blossom 2012 Forecast(As of April 6th, 2012)
Below are the forecast dates of cherry trees opening their blossoms this year (according to the Japan Weather Association; except Yoshino) and the estimated best viewing periods (estimated by japan-guide.com). Rain, wind and temperatures can have a strong effect on the process of the season, for example, they can delay or shorten it considerably. Use the forecasts on your own risk.
|Location||Opening||Estimated Best Viewing|
|Tokyo||Opened March 31||April 6 to 15|
|Kyoto||Opened April 3||April 9 to 18|
|Kagoshima||Opened March 26||April 2 to 10|
|Kumamoto||Opened March 25||April 1 to 8|
|Fukuoka||Opened March 27||April 2 to 10|
|Hiroshima||Opened April 2||April 9 to 17|
|Osaka||Opened April 2||April 8 to 16|
|Nara||Opened April 3||April 9 to 17|
|Yoshino||April 9||April 14 to 26|
|Nagoya||Opened March 30||April 6 to 14|
|Yokohama||Opened April 1||April 8 to 15|
|Kanazawa||April 8||April 14 to 21|
|Matsumoto||April 13||April 18 to 25|
|Sendai||April 15||April 20 to 27|
|Kakunodate||April 28||May 1 to 8|
|Hirosaki||April 27||May 2 to 10|
|Hakodate||May 4||May 7 to 14|
|Sapporo||May 5||May 8 to 15|
‘Hanami (花見)’ or literally ‘flower viewing’ is actually the viewing of Japanese cherry blossoms. During spring, particularly when the cherry blossoms start to bloom, people get together to watch and enjoy the blossoms as well as hang-out/socialise and get drunk together. Hanami can be just strolling through a park or a full on picnic. Large parks such as Ueno or Yoyogi Park are popular viewing spots in Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing during the evening/night is usually called yozakura (夜桜). It is not unusual for companies to have welcoming parties during hanami.
Pictures of Cherry Blossoms
video, video 2, 1, 2, 3, good quality sakura pictures