It is springtime and Japan and South Korea are bedecked in flowers.
Flower Festival In South Korea
The floral harbingers of spring, such as cherry, azalea, forsythia and canola blossom have literally blanketed South Korea, transforming the whole nation into a picturesque tourist attraction. One of the country’s major cherry blossom festivals is underway in the Jinhae district at the southeastern city of Changwon. The annual festival in Jinhae, where one of the country’s major naval bases is stationed and some 3,60,000 cherry trees have bloomed, is scheduled to run through 10 April.
Also in western Seoul, a smaller cherry blossom festival has kicked off in Yeouido Island, the capital’s main financial district and the home of the National Assembly. The floral event, which is due to end on April 9 for this year, draws crowds to streets lined with cherry blossoms on the river island every spring.
Meanwhile, Korea’s southern scenic resort island of Jeju also attracts tourists at home and from abroad with its annual canola flower festival. Visitors are to be stunned with an ocean of yellow canola blooms on the huge island around this springtime.
In particular, tourists to the Dong River in the country’s mountainous central eastern county of Yeongwol are welcomed by pasque flowers, one of the out-of-the-way plants worldwide. The flowers, also known as prairie crocus, are among the first spring blooms to sprout from steep cliffs along the banks of the Dong River.
Japan’s Famous Cherry Blossoms
In Japan. hundreds of people joined together to celebrate the start of spring under Tokyo's cherry blossom trees on Monday, as the capital reached peak bloom.
At Ueno Park, students, families and businessmen alike took time out from their work day to feast and celebrate together, following an age-old Japanese tradition.
The park boasts 800 cherry blossom trees with more than 50 varieties, attracting millions of visitors each year.
Among the most popular cherry blossoms, known as "sakura" in Japanese, are the pastel pink "somei yoshino", and the willowing "shidare."
Japan's Meteorological Agency marked Tokyo's full bloom on Sunday, but the optimal viewing period lasts little more than a week before the petals start to fall away.
For many in Japan, the "hanami" flower viewing season is also a reminder of new beginnings – a new school year and a new fiscal year.
University sophomore Takafumi Nakano says he marks the start of each school year by celebrating with his classmates.
For some, the short-lived petals offer a different memory.
Tan Shi, who studies Japanese painting, says cherry blossoms remind her of the fierce competition and years of studying that were required before she was eventually admitted into art school.
Cherry blossoms across Japan are expected to reach full bloom in the coming weeks.
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta