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The Japanese have long thought of the sakura (cherry blossom) as the flower which symbolizes the nation, but it has not been designated as the national flower by law. The sakura is mentioned in ancient myths, and the way its petals fall while still at the height of their beauty was interpreted by the old warrior class as symbolic of resignation and grace in death, qualities which the warriors rated highly.
There are numerous cherry blossom viewing spots throughout the country and one of the pleasures of life among the Japanese is the chance to hold a sake drinking party beneath a grove of cherry trees in full bloom. Among the various kinds of cherry trees, the Yoshino cherry is the most popular and accounts for 70 to 80% of the total number.
The chrysanthemum is another flower which, because of its use in the Imperial Crest, is considered to be symbolic of Japan.