How do you pronounce “sakura” (cherry blossom) in Japanese?

Pronouncing “sakura” (桜), the Japanese word for cherry blossom, is straightforward and can be broken down into syllables: “sa,” “ku,” and “ra”. In this post, we will discuss the pronunciation and meaning of the word, as well as why sakura is culturally significant in Japan.

Pronouncing “Sakura”

To pronounce “sakura” correctly, you should break down the word into its individual syllables: “sa,” “ku,” and “ra.” Each syllable should be pronounced briefly with equal emphasis:

1. “sa” – like the ‘s’ in “saw” and the ‘a’ in “father”
2. “ku” – like the ‘c’ in “cool” and the ‘u’ in “bull”
3. “ra” – like the ‘r’ in “rice” and the ‘a’ in “father”

Putting it together, say “sah-koo-rah” with each syllable receiving equal stress. It is important to note that the “r” in “ra” is not pronounced with a hard, rolling “r” sound like in the English language. Instead, it is a softer sound, almost like a combination of “r” and “l”.

The Meaning and Significance of “Sakura”

“Sakura” (桜) is a term used to refer to cherry blossom trees and their blossoms in Japan. The cherry blossoms are well known for their beauty and transient nature, as they typically only bloom for a brief period each spring. This fleeting beauty has made sakura a symbol of the transience of life and a popular subject in Japanese art, literature, and cultural events.

One of the most famous cultural events centered around sakura is “hanami” (花見), or cherry blossom viewing. During hanami season, people gather under blossoming sakura trees to enjoy the beauty of the blooms, celebrate the arrival of spring, and share food and drinks with friends and family. This tradition dates back to the Heian period (794-1185) and continues to be a popular event across Japan today.

In conclusion, “sakura” (桜) is pronounced “sah-koo-rah,” symbolizes the transient beauty of life, and plays a significant role in Japanese culture through events like hanami.