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In pictures: Cherry blossoms bloom across Japan


Whilst Britain is still suffering from winter conditions, spring is emerging in Japan where colourful buds are blooming. Enjoying the blossoms is a national pastime, with millions expected to turn out to view the floral canopies.

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According to Japan’s weather agency, Tokyo’s trees bloomed on March 22 which is much earlier than usual for the capital. Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine is used as a barometer by the city’s weather agency to judge the beginning of the cherry blossom (sakura) season. The date has been monitored since 1953 and this year’s blossom date shows an early start, matching 2002’s record.

The blossoms only last for a few weeks but are expected to be enjoyed through the tradition of hanami, which translates as “flower viewing.” It is often celebrated by picnics and parties beneath the sakura to celebrate the short-lived spectacle.