All you need is a vase and some water to bring sakura season to your living space.

The sakura have started blooming in the Tokyo area, and like any unabashed Japanophile, I’m excited. There’s something that’s limiting my cherry blossom cheer this year, though.

The weather has been lousy.

Since the sakura started to open, it’s been pretty much nothing but cold, overcast weather, with all those pretty pink petals backed by slate-gray skies, if not straight-up rain clouds. This is an especially big problem because once they reach full bloom, cherry blossoms only stay on their branches for a few days before starting to fall en masse, and there’s no guarantee you’ll catch a day with good weather before the sakura are all gone for another year.

But you know where it’s never cloudy or rainy? Inside your house or apartment, and it turns out there’s a way to enjoy at-home cherry blossom viewing with real sakura, even if you’ve got zero gardening skills.

Walking by a branch of Aoyama Flower Market (a Japanese florist chain), I spotted what looked like little bundles of twigs.

But take a closer look at the sign, and you’ll see that it says “bouquet” in English, because these are sakura bouquets!

“Wait a second,” you might be thinking. “How can they be bouquets if they don’t have flowers?”

That’s the cool part: they just don’t have flowers yet. Take the bundle of branches home, put them in water, and after enough time passes, their cherry blossoms will bloom, indoors and without any soil.

The specific type of cherry blossom for this bouquet is called keio-zakura. The bouquet is compact enough to fit into even the most modestly sized Japanese apartment, and at just 1,100 yen (US$8.90), it’s impulse-buy-friendly.

It doesn’t require any special pot or complicated care. Just put the branches in a vase and change its water once a day (the florist also gave me a small packet of complimentary one-time-use plant food to pour into the water after the flowers bloom). You should see the buds start to open within three or four days, and have full-bloom flowers in somewhere around seven to 10 days.

▼ Sakura bouquet + Daiso vase = At-home hanami cherry-blossom viewing for just 1,200 yen

The exact amount of time it takes for the flowers to bloom depends on how warm the room is, but the florist recommended keeping the vase near the entryway, which tends to be one of the cooler places in an apartment.

If you try to force the sakura to bloom earlier by, say, sticking them under your heater, you’ll shorten the amount of time between the flowers opening and falling, giving yourself a much shorter time to actually admire the cherry blossoms. It’s best to let them do things at their own pace, since if you’re lucky, you can enjoy keio-zakura for up to a month after they bloom.

Another advantage of keeping the flowers in your entryway is that unless you can see your front door from your bed, every morning when you wake up you get a nice little surprise as you see how much closer the sakura have come to blooming.

Tokyo is supposed to get a brief reprieve from the gloomy weather on Saturday, but the clouds are coming back on Sunday, with rain forecast the day after. That’s right about the time my sakura should be reaching full bloom, though, so even if it pours, it’s not going to dampen my hanami spirits.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter where yes, he really does plan to break out the snacks and drinks once his sakura hit full bloom.