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Cherry blossom season lights up west Japan's historical sites

Himeji Castle is seen illuminated with cherry blossoms from its Nishinomaru Gardens. (Mainichi/Yoshiko Yukinaga)
Lit up cherry blossoms color the night sky at Tsubosaka Temple. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Fujiwara)

Cherry blossom season has arrived in western Japan, with various events planned to take place across the region in the coming days including light-up displays at historical sites.

Tsubosaka Temple in Takatori, Nara Prefecture, has begun its first cherry blossom illumination event. The temple, which is the sixth stop on the Saigoku Pilgrimage in the Kansai region, is commemorating the announcement of the new Reiwa era and the pilgrimage's 1,300th anniversary through the inaugural event.

Temple followers planted approximately 200 Yoshino cherry trees on the temple grounds in 2003. Blossoms began to bloom at the temple on March 29, and by April 2 around half of the buds had opened. The illumination is set to take place every evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. until April 10.

Cherry blossom season is also underway in the Harima district in Hyogo Prefecture, with events leading into this weekend. On the night of April 2, a test illumination for a nighttime cherry blossom event was held on the grounds of Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the additional use of projection mapping to show images of scattering cherry blossoms on the castle's white walls, the grounds were enveloped in a dreamlike atmosphere. The event is open to the public from April 3 to 7, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The admission fee for the Tsubosaka Temple cherry blossom illumination event is 600 yen for adults and 100 yen for children between the ages of 6 and high school age. For more information, contact the temple at 0744-52-2016 (in Japanese).

Entry to the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom event is free. For more details contact Himeji Castle management office on 079-285-1146 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Fujiwara, Kashihara Resident Bureau, and Yoshiko Yukinaga, Himeji Bureau)

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