Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow
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Cherry blossoms in Europe, East Asia, and North America usually blossom in March and April. European cities like Budapest and Hamburg have cherry blossom festivals, and in North American cities like Montreal, you can enjoy their beauty in parks and gardens.
Cherry blossoms draw enormous crowds, particularly in Japan, where the viewing of blossoms is referred to as hanami. But with travel not being encouraged right now and many countries still in lockdown, most of us will not be able to see cherry blossoms in real life this year. While you can always go through old photos or virtually experience the blossoming cherry trees, there’s another, perhaps more poetic way to savor the beauty of cherry blossoms: through cherry blossom quotes.
In case you’re interested in buying books by any of these authors I’m adding links to Bookshop, an online store that supports local bookstores. While Amazon is an obvious choice for many, the company is quite problematic, so if you can please order from Bookshop instead. So now let’s get into the most wonderful cherry blossom tree quotes.
Japanese Cherry Blossom Quotes
Cherry blossoms in Japan are the epitome of the image we conjure up when we think about cherry blossoms. The country is the top destination for people who want to observe cherry blossoms, and there are even people who follow the blossoming of the trees week by week throughout the country! But it’s not only modern-day tourists who fall in love with the magic of Japanese cherry blossoms. Japanese writers have been marveling at them for ages resulting in beautiful Japanese cherry blossom poems. Here are the best cherry tree quotes from Japan.
What a strange thing!Issa
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.
Kobayashi Issa was a Japanese poet and Buddhist priest and one of the four haiku masters. You can get The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku for more of his work and cherry blossom love quotes.
And so the spring buds burst, and so I gaze,Uejima Onitsura
And so the blossoms fall, and so my days …
Onitsura was a Japanese haiku poet, but it seems that not much of his work has been translated into English so I don’t have a book suggestion for more of his sakura flower quotes.
Look at the cherry blossoms!Ikkyū
Their color and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
The spring comes again.
Ikkyū was yet another Buddhist monk and poet, but he was also a master calligrapher. You can buy Having Once Paused for more of his poems and sakura tree quotes.
Between our two lives there is also the life of the cherry blossom.Matsuo Bashō
Bashō is considered to have been the ultimate haiku master though he has also written in other styles, so how could I not quote him in this section of Japanese quotes about cherry blossoms? This being a travel blog I have to mention that he was also a travel writer. Get The Complete Haiku with illustrations by ceramic artist Shiro Tsujimura or go for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
I have a pretty good memory, but memories are time beings, too, like cherry blossoms or ginkgo leaves; for a while they are beautiful, and then they fade and die.Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki is a US and Canadian citizen, but her mother was Japanese, and she lived and worked in Japan which influences a lot of her work, so I’m including her in the section of cherry blossom sayings from Japan. A Tale for the Time Being tells the story of the diary of a Japanese schoolgirl and a Canadian author who finds it.
If I were asked to explain the Japanese spirit, I would say it is wild cherry blossoms glowing in the morning sun!Motoori Norinaga
Motoori Norinaga was a scholar whose Kojiki-den is a commentary on the Kojiki, a chronicle of Japanese legends, myths, and songs. If you’d love to travel to Japan, but can’t because of the current situation this might help alleviate your longing.
If there were noAriwara no Narihira
in this world
How much more tranquil
our hearts would be in spring.
Ariwara no Narihira is considered one of the best Japanese poets of all time, and this is one of the hanami quotes that best expresses that even though cherry blossoms are incredibly beautiful, watching them appear and then disappear in spring reminds us that nothing lasts forever. Cherry blossoms thus serve as a testimonial to how short our own lives are.
Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom, the moon only when it is cloudless? To long for the moon while looking on the rain, to lower the blinds and be unaware of the passing of the spring – these are even more deeply moving. Branches about to blossom or gardens strewn with flowers are worthier of our admiration.Yoshida Kenkō
Yoshida Kenkō was a Japanese poet and Buddhist monk who wrote at length about what today we would consider minimalism. Essays in Idleness is taught in Japanese high schools to this day.
The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Another quote which goes beyond the outward beauty of cherry blossoms and lets us know about the conflicting emotions surrounding cherry blossoms in Japanese culture. Jun’ichirō Tanizaki is one of the most famous Japanese authors and almost won the Nobel Prize in Literature. His book The Makioka Sisters is considered the best Japanese novel of the last century.
I’d like to divideSaigyō
myself in order to see,
among these mountains,
each and every flower
of every cherry tree.
Saigyō was a Japanese poet who inspired later poets such as Matsuo Bashō. To learn more about him and his work get the book Awesome Nightfall.
Yes, the cherry trees put this truth very plainly: none of the glory of blossoms and autumn leaves lasts long in this fleeting world.Murasaki Shikibu
Another quote that shows us that life is like a cherry blossom: finite. Murasaki Shikibu was a Japanese author who wrote the world’s first ever novel, The Tale of Genji, about a thousand years ago. Her real name is not known, but she was a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese court and was one of few women in Japan who knew Chinese.
Famous Cherry Blossom Quotes From the English-Speaking World
In English-speaking countries, cherry blossoms don’t generally represent such a deep melancholy about the finiteness of life. But there are still some beautiful quotes you could use as cherry blossom captions on your social media. These quotes on cherry blossoms focus more on their beauty rather than their short lifespan and will work perfectly as Instagram captions for cherry blossoms.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry nowA. E. Housman
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
A. E. Housman was an English poet and scholar. You can read his work, including this cherry blossom poem, in his collection of poems, A Shropshire Lad.
Audrey NiffeneggerOutside it’s a perfect spring night. We stand on the sidewalk in front of our apartment building, and Henry takes my hand, and I look at him, and I raise our joined hands and Henry twirls me around and soon we’re dancing down Belle Plaine Avenue, no music but the sound of cars whoosing by and our own laughter, and the smell of cherry blossoms that fall like snow on the sidewalk as we dance underneath the tress.
Audrey Niffenegger is a US-American writer famous for her bestselling debut novel The Time Traveler’s Wife.
A cherry tree was coming into bloom, shooting out a froth of sugar-pink blossoms. She could see from its size and the gnarled branches that it was a mature tree, yet still capable of putting on such a wonderful show. A new beginning every spring, even from an old tree.Maggie Alderson
Maggie Alderson is an Australian fashion magazine editor and author. If you’re into perfumes read her novel The Scent of You about perfume blogger Polly.
Along the wide curving moat surrounding the palace, rows of cherry trees announced the end of their seasonal beauty. Some of the trees were weeping: blossoms in white and palest pink, ponderous with decreptitude, eddying on the brown water, stirred by the paddling of ducks.John Burnham Schwartz
John Burnham Schwartz is a US-American writer who studied Japanese Studies. The Commoner follows a Japanese woman who marries into the Imperial House of Japan.
What do you think about these cherry blossom quotes about life? Which one is your favorite? Let me know if you use any of these as cherry blossom Instagram captions.
Lily | imperfect idealistMarch 2, 2021 at 5:32 am
These quotes and photos make me so excited for spring! I’m already waiting for the magnolias in Boston 🙂 Thank you for sharing these beautiful quotes and the works they’re from. I especially like the one by Ruth Ozeki and how transient everything is. If I ever buy from Bookshop, I’ll click through your links here!
Nina AhmedowMarch 2, 2021 at 12:08 pm
Thank you, Lily! I can’t wait for your spring photos. 🙂
Jason ReidMarch 16, 2021 at 6:49 pm
Some wonderful quotes here. Not likely to see many this year but I would love to see the cherry blossoms in all their glory in Japan someday 🙂
Nina AhmedowMarch 17, 2021 at 12:37 pm
Me too, Jason!! Japan has definitely made it to my list of places to visit.
Travel CuddlyJune 23, 2021 at 3:31 pm
Impressive! Thanks for sharing
Nina AhmedowJune 24, 2021 at 12:52 pm
Thanks for your comment!
Anita Beyond The SeaJanuary 18, 2023 at 8:33 pm
I love this! As I’m planning to visit Japan soon this is so inspiring, thank you for sharing 🙂
Nina AhmedowJanuary 23, 2023 at 9:34 pm
I’m glad you liked these quotes. Have a wonderful time in Japan!!