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Popular autumn redwood spot in west Japan sees fewer visitors amid pandemic

A parent and a child are seen walking down a street flanked by dawn redwood trees during the autumn foliage season in the Makinocho district of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

TAKASHIMA, Shiga -- The rows of roadside dawn redwood trees in this western Japan city create a lush arcade of red and brown autumn leaves that usually attract visitors from in and out of town.

    But due to the spread of the new coronavirus, fewer tourists are coming in groups and foreign visitors have declined to about 10% of their number in an average year. Those who had come to take in the views were seen walking in silence.

    Some 500 dawn redwood trees, aged around 40 years, flank a street in the Makinocho district of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, across roughly 2.4 kilometers. According to a local preservation society, the leaves' change in color has been slow due to the warm temperatures, and the scenery can be enjoyed until the end of next week.

    A 28-year-old woman living in east Japan's Kanto region, and who said she had come by while visiting her parents' home in the Osaka Prefecture city of Katano, smiled and said, "I can appreciate the view while avoiding the 'three Cs' (confined spaces, crowded places and close contact settings) during the coronavirus crisis. It is very beautiful."

    (Japanese original by Naohiro Yamada, Osaka Photo Department)

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