Annual cherry blossom viewing event begins in Osaka
Japan Today -- Apr 12
An annual cherry blossom viewing event that is a famous spring feature in Osaka, held since 1883, began Wednesday at the Japan Mint headquarters.

Visitors snapped photos with their cameras and smartphones as the weeklong seasonal event opened at about 10 a.m., displaying 349 cherry trees of 134 different varieties along a roughly 560-meter path from the venue's south gate to north gate.

Mitsuo Itayama, a 79-year-old man from the city of Sakai, said, "I look forward to this event every year. I want to take time and see the beautiful cherry blossoms."

The Japan Mint selected as this year's cherry blossom prunus serrulata, or hill cherry, with a Japanese name meaning "big lantern," which boasts spherical large flowers.

The annual event has been staged for more than 130 years, uninterrupted except for during World War II and its aftermath. It offers free admittance and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the weekend.

大阪市北区の造幣局では春の風物詩「桜の通り抜け」が始まりました。 約560メートルの遊歩道に134種類もの桜が並び、見物客を出迎えます。造幣局が選ぶ今年の花は「大提灯」。ふっくらと丸い大きな花が提灯のようにぶら下がって咲くのが特徴です。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
Feb 16
Reservations for travel overseas are surging for this year's 10-day Golden Week period, during which the Imperial succession is set to take place, according to a JTB Corp. official. (Japan Times)
Feb 16
A fire broke out at a warehouse in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon leaving three men dead and another man injured, while some flights at nearby Haneda airport were also disrupted by the incident. (Kyodo)
Feb 15
Bullet train ticket machines have stopped working in many parts of Japan. (NHK)
Feb 13
As spring approaches in Japan, the country's weather forecasters face one of their biggest missions of the year: predicting exactly when the famed cherry blossoms will bloom. (straitstimes.com)
Feb 10
A cold snap hit Tokyo and its surrounding areas Saturday, causing cancellations of more than 100 domestic flights to and from the capital. (Japan Times)
Feb 09
People in Sapporo shivered through frigid conditions on Friday as the city recorded a daytime high of minus 10.1 degrees Celsius, making it the first time in 40 years that the mercury has failed to reach minus 10. (NHK)
Feb 07
Nara Park in Nara Prefecture is famous for its 1,000-plus-strong shika (native deer) population. These deer, considered to be messengers of the gods, are a national treasure and a protected species within the city’s limits, due to their sacred connection to Nara’s Kasuga Taisha Shrine. (soranews24.com)
Feb 06
Star Wars, anime favourites, and tennis pro Naomi Osaka all make an appearance at this year’s event. (soranews24.com)
Feb 05
Tokyo Tower, an iconic landmark in the capital, has been illuminated in red as part of the efforts to welcome Chinese visitors to Japan during the Lunar New Year holiday. (NHK)
Feb 03
Geisha apprentices, called "maikos," have gathered at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto to take part in a traditional bean-throwing ritual. (NHK)