Japan enjoys peak cherry blossoms, but no party

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. in full bloom / ɪn fʊl blum / (idiom) – covered with flowers

    Many foreigners travel to Japan in spring when cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

  2. fluffy / ˈflʌf i / (adj.) – having a light and soft appearance

    The child ate the fluffy cotton candy.

  3. moat / moʊt / (n.) – a deep, wide hole filled with water, usually surrounding a castle to protect it from attacks

    A bridge over the moat leads to the castle gate.

  4. line / laɪn / (v.) – to place or form a line along an area, such as a hallway, building, or street

    The path leading to the garden is lined with flowers.

  5. resurgence / rɪˈsɜr dʒəns / (n.) – a situation in which growth or increase reappears after a period of inactivity

    The band is experiencing a resurgence of popularity after coming back from a 5-year break.


Read the text below.

People are celebrating Japan’s peak cherry blossom viewing season without COVID-19 restrictions for the first time in two years. But many are strolling under the trees rather than drinking and eating in traditional party style.

Trees are in full bloom this week in many parts of Japan. They peaked in Tokyo on Sunday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, attracting many people who had avoided participating in the national tradition for two years because of the pandemic.

In many areas, viewers were asked not to gather under the trees for drinking parties — a traditional way of celebrating the season — as part of continuing anti-virus measures.

At Yoyogi and Ueno parks, areas were roped off to prevent people from sitting down and partying. Many parks put up signs forbidding parties with alcohol.

At Chidorigafuchi Park, a famous “hanami” or cherry blossom viewing spot northwest of the Imperial Palace, thousands of people admired the fluffy pale pink flowers while strolling under rows of trees or from rowboats on the palace moat.

Cherry blossoms, or “sakura,” are Japan’s favorite flower and usually reach their peak in late March to early April, just as the country celebrates the start of a new school and business year.

In Shinjuku Gyoen in downtown Tokyo, many people including families picnicked under the trees. The popular blossom viewing area of Nakameguro was full of people walking along a river lined with cherry blossom trees.

Japan lifted all formal COVID-19 restrictions last week after infections slowed, but experts have raised concerns about a resurgence prompted by people gathering and traveling during spring holidays.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • COVID-19 has changed the way people celebrate hanami. Do you think this tradition will be less meaningful because of the changes in the way people celebrate it? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What other events were affected by COVID-19 in your country? In what ways were they affected (ex. they were canceled, they were held online instead)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Japan already lifted all formal COVID-19 restrictions after infections slowed. Do you agree with this decision? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Given that the country has experienced a resurgence of COVID-19 cases several times, do you think the government should explore other solutions aside from implementing restrictions (ex. mandatory vaccination)? Why or why not? Discuss.