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Cherry blossum time

by Yuka Suzuki, staff writer

The cherry blossom, the Japanese national flower, blooms in the spring and it is a national tradition for everyone to go to see and celebrate the cherry trees in bloom.

The cherry blossom flowering in the Fukuoka and Uwajima areas began March 17, and in Tokyo on March 18. This year about half of Japan was flowering by April 1, and by mid-April, everywhere was cheery blossom time, according to the Japan weather association.


Around March and April, the cherry blossom explosion is on the news everywhere in Japan. Information on cherry blossom flowering in each district or place famous for cherry blossoms is provided because cherry blossom blooming relates to both a temperature change and altitude above sea level. Even the Japan Meteorological Agency, the National Weather Service, forecasts cherry blossom blooming.

There are more than 300 places famous for cherry blossoms, including parks, shrines, temples, highways, and mountains. Also there are more than 100 cherry blossom festivals all over Japan. Some places are densely covered with more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees. One place,Myougisan sakuranosato in Gunma, is covered with more than 50 varieties and 15,000 cherry blossom trees.

Sakura, the cherry blossom, is a member of the rose family. About 80 percent of the cherry blossoms in Japan are of the Someiyoshino variety.

Hanami, cherry blossoms viewing is a traditional practice, and many people have picnics and enjoy karaoke under the cherry blossoms both day and night.

In 1912 Japan gave the United States about 3,000 cherry blossom trees. They are planted around the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., so that Americans, too, enjoy watching them bloom every spring.



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