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Friday, May 3, 2013

Cherry Blossoms Around The World
Blossoming beauty in Hirosaki
Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is a seasonal tradition in Japan. Between March and May, cherry blossom festivals occur all over the country, attracting visitors from around the world to celebrate the beauty of spring.
Pictured here are the sakura, or spring cherry blossoms, in Hirosaki Park, one of the country's most famous places to see the flowers. Located in the northern Japanese town of Hirosaki, the park has picnic areas, row boats, petal-filled moats, cherry blossom tunnels and more than 2,500 trees. This year, the annual cherry blossom festival takes place from 23 April to 5 May, when the trees are usually in bloom.
Splashes of colour in Kyoto

The cherry blossom is symbolic in Japanese culture. It is depicted on the 100 yen coin; was used as an icon to stoke nationalism during World War II; and many Japanese people believe the flower symbolises the transience of life, acting as an annual reminder that time is valuable. Pictured here, cherry blossoms line the edges of Kyoto's Okazaki Canal.
But while Japan is home to some of the most well known cherry blossom sites, other cities across the northern hemisphere also pay tribute to the flowers that mark spring's breathtaking arrival.
Blossoms in Brooklyn

Brooklyn's Botanic Garden in New York City has the largest and most diverse collection of cherry blossoms outside Japan, with 42 varieties of flowering trees. The cherries were originally purchased from a local nursery in 1921; two from the original planting still survive.
Sakura Matsuri is a weekend-long festival, from 27 April to 28 April this year, held to celebrate the Sekiyama cherry trees that line the park's Cherry Esplanade. The annual festival has been taking since the early 1980s.
Monumental beauty in Washington DC
The delicate cherry blossoms along DC's National Mall have drawn generations of viewers since 1912. A gift from Japan, the flowering trees symbolise friendship, and each year, Washington DC hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival. A parade of elaborate floats, marching bands and giant helium balloons will make its way down Constitution Avenue on 13 April from 10 am to noon.
Buds and bamboo in South Korea
The Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, the country's largest cherry blossom festival, is held from 1 April to 10 April this year, drawing more than two million visitors annually to Jinhae, a town on the southeast coast of South Korea. Pictured here, cherry blossoms decorate a bamboo forest in Damyang, South Korea.
Springtime in Paris
As the warmer weather arrives, the Champs de Mars park in Paris becomes speckled with cherry blossoms.
Spring awakening in VancouverVancouver is home to about 40,000 cherry trees that burst with pink and white blooms; and each year, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival held from 4 April to 30 April this year, celebrates the new growth with art classes, music, food and walks in more than 50 city parks.
A blanket of white in SpainWhen spring arrives, the Jerte Valley in Spain's Extremadura region transforms. Just as the hills turn white – becoming covered in blossoms – festivities celebrate the spectacular views, attracting nearly 50,000 visitors in the past. During the last two weeks of March, the Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor is celebrated, with markets, tasting sessions and exhibitions 
throughout the valley's towns

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