The word hanami (花見, means “watch the flowers”: hana = “blossom”, and mi “watch, look”) is often interpreted in various ways:
For some people, it means walking through the gardens or parks and observe the cherry trees (this interpretation is the closest to the ethymology).
For others, it consists in getting together, and eat and drink (with a barbecue and plenty of drinks) under the cherry blossoms, in a park or a garden. In this case, although one usually chooses a place where there are indeed some cherry trees, these are not always the main attraction. However, it is important that the hanami takes place, if possible, on “the” day where sakuras are in full bloom (満開 mankai). And this is so important, that the days before, newspapers announce the estimated date of blooming for each region.
Hanami are held with friends, collegues or with family… The sakuras are only blooming two weeks per year: let’s not miss that chance!