When people think of Japan, they may think of many things, including sake, ramen, and of course, cherry blossoms. Each year, these beautiful trees blossom from March until early May, and people often travel far to see the progression of the season. At moto-i in Minneapolis, we love celebrating the arrival of spring and the cherry blossom viewing (known as “Hanami”), and you too can celebrate with the best Japanese cuisine in the city.

Celebrating Hanami

The tradition of hanami has been around for centuries where the annual celebration of nature is very important in Japan. People drink sake and tea, and seasonal sweets are found on every table. Our menu features Sata Andagi, which is an Okinawan doughnut covered in five-spice sugar. People also blend green tea with the sakura flowers of the cherry trees, creating a fresh, tart tea that can be enjoyed during the festivals.

Watching the Weather

Since Hanami can stretch from March into May, people keep an eye on the weather to see when the best blossom-viewing times will be. The first trees blossom in the southern regions of Japan and on the island of Okinawa, and then the blossoming moves north until it reaches the island of Hokkaido. People will walk from one orchard to another, and there are rail passes that will let a person ride the entire length of the main island of Honshu. Tourists from all over the world also come to see this beautiful phenomenon!

Observe Hanami With Us

If you’re from Japan, have Japanese ancestry, or simply want to celebrate Hanami in Minneapolis, moto-i can help you observe it in style. Perhaps you want to plan a party during the season, complete with sake and traditional ramen dishes, or you want to watch sumo wrestling while you enjoy a sake cocktail. Regardless of your plans, we’d love to be a part of your celebration. You can reserve one of our private event spaces, or stop in during happy hour for fantastic drink specials. You can also see our on-site sake brewery, and observe Hanami with this traditional Japanese drink.

If you love cherry blossoms, the arrival of spring, or fabulous food, come to our restaurant today. Our staff will gladly help you find a dish that you’ll love, or recommend an entree you’ve never tried before. Stop by for brunch, lunch, or dinner – we’re open seven days a week!