Large crowds flock to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo after delayed blooming

Crowds gathered Friday to enjoy Japan’s famous cherry blossoms, where cold weather has delayed their bloom. Cherry blossoms, known as “sakura” in Japanese, are the nation’s favorite flower. People often have viewing parties beneath the falling petals, where there are also picnics and sake drinking. Vidyuth Lakshman, 36, from Canada, said she’d seen cherry blossoms in her homeland but “not on this scale. The scale here is crazy.” The trees usually are at peak bloom in late March to early April, at the same time the country begins a new school and business year. “They’re really breathtaking,” said Silver Shea, 47, a tourist from the , who was visiting Japan for a month with her 11-year-old daughter. “We leave in about a week, and we were getting nervous that we weren’t going to get to see them blooming.” Others were also worried about missing the blooms. “Every day we kept waiting for the cherry blossoms,” said Satya Kandula, 30, another tourist from Canada. “We are leaving tomorrow so we’re so happy that on the last day we got to see the full bloom.”