17:45 GMT16 April 2021
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    • Pedestrians looks at early blooming cherry blossoms in a park in Tokyo on 14 March 2021.
    • Flowering cherry blossoms and buds adorn a sample cherry tree, under phenological observation conducted by the Tokyo regional headquarters of the Japan Meteorological Agency, seen at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on 14 March 2021.
    • A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus looks at cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Tuesday, 23 February 2021.
    • People stroll under a tree of early blooming cherry blossoms in a park in Tokyo on 14 March 2021.
    • People wearing protective masks to avoid the spread of coronavirus, walk near cherry blossoms at Ueno Park Wednesday, 10 March 2021. The Japanese capital confirmed more than 300 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
    • People wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of coronavirus look at Kawazu cherry blossoms near the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan, Tuesday, 23 February 2021, in Tokyo.
    • Flowering cherry blossoms and buds on a sample cherry tree, under phenological observation conducted by the Tokyo regional headquarters of the Japan Meteorological Agency, are seen at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on 14 March 2021.
    • A woman looks at early blooming cherry blossoms in a park in Tokyo on 14 March 2021.
    © AFP 2021 / Kazuhiro Nogi
    Pedestrians looks at early blooming cherry blossoms in a park in Tokyo on 14 March 2021.

    Enjoying the view of blossoming cherry trees in Japan - a practice known as hanami - is an integral part of the Japanese culture. It is best to enjoy this breathtaking natural phenomenon in April, when cherries are in full bloom. However, early signs can already be observed in March.

    Residents of certain areas in southern and eastern Japan, including the capital Tokyo, can already enjoy the first indications of blossoms on cherry trees, known as sakura in Japanese. The blossoming season is expected to culminate in April, although the northern parts of the country will see cherries in full bloom in May.

    Observing the fleeting beauty of nature is an old custom in Japan, spanning many centuries. To this day, the nation's parks are filled with visitors every spring, who come to have a picnic and marvel at the beauty of pink and white petals.

    Even though the travel to Japan is still restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sputnik invites you to have a look at the first cherry blossoms in the Land of the Rising Sun.

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