FUKUSHIMA – Cherry blossom trees lining a street in the town of Tomioka in Fukushima Prefecture will be illuminated for two weeks next month after an evacuation order for a large part of the town is lifted on April 1.
The town, which was designated a no-go zone after the 2011 nuclear reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, boasts a 2.2-km stretch of cherry trees in Yonomori Park.
The trees form a canopy of blossoms at this time of year and used to attract about 100,000 visitors a year before the 2011 disaster.
Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. through April 16, about 600 meters of the street trees will be lit up for the first time since the disaster struck, while the rest of the street will remain off-limits in principle.
Tomioka officials said former residents were losing interest in the town due to the prolonged evacuation.
They said they hoped the illumination event will bring back people’s attention to the area, encouraging former residents to return.