National

Annual cherry blossom viewing begins at Osaka's Japan Mint headquarters

Kyodo

A cherry blossom viewing event at the Japan Mint headquarters in Osaka, which has been held each year since 1883, kicked off on Wednesday.

Visitors snapped photos as the weeklong event opened at about 10 a.m., with 349 cherry trees of 134 different varieties on view along a roughly 560-meter path from the venue’s south gate to its north gate.

Mitsuo Itayama, a 79-year-old man from the city of Sakai, said, “I look forward to this event every year. I want to spend time and see the beautiful cherry blossoms.”

The Japan Mint selected as this year’s featured cherry blossom the variety Prunus serrulata, or hill cherry, which has a Japanese name that means “big lantern” and boasts spherical large flowers.

The annual event has been staged for more than 130 years, uninterrupted except for during World War II and its aftermath. It offers free admittance and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the weekend.

Last year, the cherry garden attracted some 730,000 visitors.

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