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Warm weather in Tokyo brings out cherry blossoms and party-goers

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31 Mar 2024 11:03:24 GMT9
31 Mar 2024 11:03:24 GMT9

TOKYO: After a cold March and with snow still falling in areas north of Tokyo, Japan’s cherry blossoms finally decided to appear in Tokyo at the weekend, 15 days later than normal.

The appearance of cherry blossoms in Japan marks the true beginning of spring and the end of winter, encouraging people to escape from their houses, meet friends and look ahead to summer. It brings a sense of happiness to Japan after the gloom of winter.

The cherry blossoms can be found across Japannot only in parks and fields, but also in downtown streets and in private houses. It’s also a popular time for tourists to visit. 

April 1 also marks the start of the fiscal and school years in Japan and the cherry blossoms are a symbolic sign of new life and a new start. And, of course, they are also a good excuse for a party.

One of the bests spots in Tokyo is Ueno Park and with the weather at its best on the final weekend in March, people started to flock to the park even though the blossoms weren’t in full bloom. Families, students, and groups of workers visit the park for parties – called Hanami – and viewing the cherry blossoms.

This year’s festivities in the park included a kimono show, which added to the color of the cherry blossoms and the traditional celebrations.

Many people lay down blue tarpaulins as a kind of reservation system and as a place they can enjoy food and drinks with their friends and colleagues. Mobile food carts and trucks (yatai) are on hand to provide people with noodles, sandwiches, rice balls and an assortment of drinks.

The cherry blossoms were initially expected to bloom on March 19, but March stayed very cold in the capital and the trees remained bare.

This year marks the first time since 2020 that cherry blossom-viewing has been permitted without any COVID-19 regulations. People are free to come and go, eat, and drink and leave their masks at home, if they choose to do so. However, it’s also still flu and hay fever season in Japan, so many retain their masks.

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