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Cherry blossoms on Mt Yoshino reach peak bloom, 30,000 sakura trees

A photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on Friday shows Mount Yoshino covered with cherry blossoms in full bloom in Nara prefecture, western Japan. (Kyodo photo)

NARA, Japan: Cherry blossoms covering Mount Yoshino, renowned for its 30,000 sakura trees of 200 varieties, in the western Japan prefecture of Nara reached their peak blooms on Friday, 10 days earlier than usual.

This year was also marked by fewer visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, with disinfection booths set up in nearby train stations and parking areas, as well as bus tours for tourists taking rapid Covid-19 tests before visiting the area.

Reservations for about 2,000 buses for tours are made every year but they have plummeted to a tenth this year due to the coronavirus spread, according to the town of Yoshino where the mountain is located.

Most of the visitors who saw the pink and white flowers, mostly Cerasus jamasakura, wore masks and took pictures as they walked up the mountain paths.

The falling cherry blossom petals “reminded me of Canadian snowfall,” Aileen Schrock, a 36-year-old English teacher from the city of Osaka, said referring to her home country.

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