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Textbooks usually teach that 花見 / お花見 means "cherry blossom viewing".

Tatoeba has a couple of examples supporting that:

  • ヒラヒラと桜の花が舞っている。もうお花見の季節も終わりだな
    It looks like cherry blossom-viewing season is at an end. You can see the petals fluttering down.

  • 水戸市は花見客でいっぱいだった。
    The city of Mito was crowded with blossom viewers.

  • 私は花見に行ってきました。
    I have been to see the cherry blossoms.

  • 花見ができる春が待ち遠しい。
    I can't wait for spring to come so we can sit under the cherry trees.

  • お花見に行きませんか。
    Why don't we go and see the cherry blossoms?

[source]

Must 花見 / お花見 refer only to "cherry blossom" viewing?

Can they be used for "flower viewing" in general?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

花見 usually refers to cherry-blossom viewing. However, it can refer to other kind of blossom trees. For example, 梅の花見 refers to plum-blossom viewing, and when it is clear from the context, it can be also referred to simply as 花見.

花見 does not refer to viewing flowers in general. For example, going to view orchids or tulips is not usually considered as 花見.

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