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Let cherry blossoms light up the evening at Osaka castle

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

When it comes to spring beauty, nothing surpasses the sight of cherry blossoms in full bloom, especially when they are illuminated during the night. Add the grandiose view of Osaka Castle as the backdrop plus a delicious bento-box picnic, and you have a winning combination.

The Osakajo Yozakura Illuminage event at Osaka Castle’s Nishinomaru Garden offers all this between March 25 and April 13. Organizers recommend that couples, families with kids and other hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) fans visit the area empty handed, since special food, drinks and entertainment will be provided on site. For a fee of ¥1,500, which includes entrance, you can reserve a space in the area with the best view of the cherry trees.

Bento boxed meals from renowned local restaurants in Osaka, including Yamane sushi restaurant and the Kagaman Japanese cuisine restaurant, will be available for ¥4,000, which also includes the entrance fee, while a variety of booths offering gyōza dumplings, takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and other snacks will also be set up along the rows of cherry trees.

Other entertainment includes street performances and shows by trained monkeys, which begin every day from 6:30 p.m.

The Osaka-jo Yozakura Illuminage event is organized by the Japan Illumination Association and takes place between March 25 and April 13 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Nishinomaru Garden near Osaka Castle. Entrance is ¥500 for those over the age of 3. For more information about special packages, such as those that include bento boxes, call 06-6452-6452 or visit www.jia-or.jp.