Cherry Blossom [桜 - さくら, sakura] is the name of a suit in traditional hanafuda decks. It is generally taken to be the third suit, representing the month of March [三月 - さんがつ sangatsu] or the number 3. The cards in this suit all feature red and pink cherry blossoms. There are two Chaff cards, one Poetry Ribbon, and one Bright. The Bright card of the Cherry Blossom suit features a curtain [幕 - まく, maku] on the lower half of the card, behind which one can infer the presence of people viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms.
The Curtain is of great value in Koi-Koi, as it can be used in conjunction with the Sake Cup for a quick victory, as well as being useful to make the valuable series of Bright yaku. It is also particularly useful in a wide array of other games due to its high point value and the variety of yaku that it forms.
In both Six Hundred and Mushi, it combines with the other Bright cards to form the most valuable yaku in each game (“Four Brights” and “Five Brights,” respectively). It also combines with the Crane and Bush Warbler to make “Three Brights,” (also known as “Big Three”) in both games.
In Six Hundred, when captured alongside the other cards of its suit, it forms “Cherry Blossom Stripe,” and when captured with the Sake cup, forms “Flower Viewing Sake.”
The Cherry Blossom Ribbon combines with the Pine Ribbon and Plum Blossom Ribbon in a large number of games to form the yaku variously called “Poetry Ribbons,” “Red Ribbons,” “Small Three,” etc. Unlike the other two Poetry Ribbons, which read “akayoroshi,” this card’s ribbon features the text “Miyoshino” in hiragana, referring to the town of Yoshino, Nara, which is known for its beautiful cherry blossoms. This is seen even in older patterns that do not have text on the other two Poetry Ribbons.
The two Chaff cards of this suit feature upward-branching cherry blossoms, usually pink and red in color. As with many other suits, these cards are often visually weighted in opposite directions from one another, one to the left and one to the right.