Yokohama: Indicating the onset of spring, beautiful 'Someiyoshino' cherry blossoms in full bloom dot the streets in Japan's Yokohama during this time of the year.
The cherry blossom, or 'Sakura', is a very familiar Japanese symbol of spring. Bringing cheer after long winter months, both locals and tourists alike flock to gardens to take part in viewing events to appreciate the beauty of the blooms.
Japan's second-most populated city, Yokohama, has many famous cherry blossom spots like the 'Minato Mirai' harbour, the banks of the Ooka river, and the Sankei garden to name a few.
At the Minato Mirai harbour, tourists can enjoy the blossoms with modern buildings in the background and the blue expanse of the sea. The town is decorated with not only cherry blossoms but also with other colourful flowers, which are celebrated through a festival that exhibits a variety of flowers like roses and lilies.
There are around 600 cherry trees around the Ooka River. The beauty of the flora can be enjoyed by sitting by the banks or taking a boat ride. At night, scores of lanterns are lit to illuminate the cherry blossom trees, the petals of which can be seen floating on the river.
Viewing events are also held during the night time at the Sankei garden which was established in 1906. Many traditional Japanese buildings, like pagodas, decorate the garden. This event provides tourists with a great atmosphere to view the blooming cherry blossoms with traditional Japanese pagoda in the backdrop.
Another famous cherry blossom spot in Yokohama is the Shinto shrine, Iseyamakotai. The shrine gives its guests a window into 'Shintoism' while providing a scenic, traditional atmosphere which is enhanced by the blooming blossoms.
Every spot in Yokohama city is surrounded by the cherry blossoms. Around 260 cherry trees are also planted in Nogeyama Animal Park. Out of the 600 different kinds of cherry trees in Japan, the ones in Yokohama are the typical 'Someiyoshino' cherry variety.
Most of these 'Someiyoshino' trees begin to bloom at the same time, creating a beautiful scene. Every year Japan Meteorological Agency declares the date of bloom of cherry blossom based on the 'Someiyoshino' flowers. The peak season to view the blossoms is from last week of March to April second week.