Sakura is the symbol of spring in Japan, one of the best moments to enjoy the beautiful Japanese cherry blossom season. During this time people celebrate Hanami, the tradition of eating and drinking underneath the cherry blossom trees to welcome spring.
Inspired by Japanese Hanami, since 2014 London Japanese restaurant Sake No Hana invites every year an artist to create an annual pop-up secret cherry blossom garden. This has become an annual appointment for japanophiles and people who want to discover Japanese Sakura and to live the Hanami experience six thousand miles from Japan.
Eating Beneath the Cherry Blossoms
To honor this tradition and celebrate the Japanese Sakura, this year Sake No Hana has invited the British artist Rebecca Louise Law, known for sculpting natural materials using copper wire, to imagine a floral six-week installation, from 20th March to 10th June.
By decorating the restaurant ceiling with real cherry blossoms - clouds of white flowers are suspended on the tables - she has created a “living” sculpture inspired by the Hanami tradition (enjoy her work by clicking on the image to enlarge it).
Sakura season, which lasts only a few weeks in Japan, is the symbol of the fragility of nature and life. Rebecca Louise Law’s installation represents this concept by showcasing the fleeting beauty of the blossom and of time.
“I see this installation like a dance, where the wood and flowers flow together to create a sublime collaboration. I will use the flowers like paint to create a wash of white throughout Sake no Hana using the restaurant as my canvas. The atmosphere will be light and positive.” explains the artist.
To complete the sensory dining experience, it is possible to taste the special Sakura menu created by Head Chef Hideki Hiwatashi during this period. Guests can start with an exclusive Hanami cocktail - made of Akashi-Tai Honjozo sake, Belsazar white vermouth, cherry liqueur and lavender bitters - before moving on to The Sakura menu featuring traditional miso soup, a bento box with nigiri and maki rolls, Sumiyaki rib eye beef with chilli ponzu and Champagne yuzu miso salmon, and a chocolate mousse dessert with sour cherry insert, fresh cherries, and sakura tea jellies.
Previous Sakura Installations at Sake No Hana
Sake no Hana has decorated the restaurant bar annually since 2014 to celebrate Sakura cherry blossom with a sensory experience. For three years, the florist Veevers Carter designed a fantastical garden to capture the essence of Hanami.
Here are some pictures of the previous years’ installations, click on the images to enlarge them.
Hanami at Sake no Hana | 2016
Hanami at Sake No Hana | 2015
Hanami at Sake No Hana | 2014