The Japanese are very proud of their cultural heritage. After all the country has centuries of history behind what makes its culture. From the Heian Period (794 - 1185) on, the cherry blossom has been revered by Japanese. It carries great significance for the Japanese especially with regards to the innate meaning and symbolism they attach with it. Known as sakura in local lingo the cherry blossom is actually taken as a metaphor for life by the Japanese.
The flowers brief blooming time and the fragility of its blossoms, has led to an association with the transience of life. On mass, the blossoms resemble clouds and the fallen blossoms can be likened to snow images that have captivated Japanese artistic sensibilities. The brief and brilliant blooming period that is followed up by the eventual and inevitable fall is taken as a direct reflection of how human life on planet earth is.
For the west this realization comes during the fall season. In Japan the people are reminded of the true nature of life during the spring season when the cherry blossoms begin to bloom and make their way to brilliance and then down to the ground.