The renowned Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival has now joined the long list of events to be cancelled this year due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

It seems only a short while ago Japan was looking forward to another splendid season of sakura viewing and all the requisite partying that comes with it. That of course has changed during the past month as local governments across Japan requested the public to refrain from congregating to appreciate the cherry trees in bloom as a direct result of the increasingly serious COVID-19 situation.

And now, one of Japan’s most famous sakura festivals has fallen victim to the outbreak as it was recently announced that this year’s Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival has regrettably but understandably been cancelled.

Hirosaki, located in Aomori Prefecture, the northernmost prefecture on the Japanese main island, is well-known as a spectacular site for viewing cherry blossoms, particularly the area around Hirosaki Castle and the surrounding Hirosaki Park.

The festival, which has a history dating back to 1917, was scheduled for the period of April 23 to May 6, and would have been a special celebration as it was going to be held for the 100th time this year.

▼ The “cascading” cherry trees that almost look like a waterfall really are magnificent!

▼ The sakura petals that cover the moat around Hirosaki Castle like a pink carpet are also a famous sight, called by the fitting name “hanaikada“, which literally means “flower raft“.

With views like these, it’s no wonder that the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival, which also features a variety of food stalls, stage events and boat rides on the moat, attracts over 2 million visitors every year.

Alas, all that is not to be this year, but the area within the park will apparently still be lit up in the evenings for security reasons, while no eating or drinking on the grounds will be allowed.

Without the festivities, the next best thing we can enjoy is probably some videos of the actual Hirosaki cherry blossoms.

▼  Here’s a promotional video commemorating what would have been the 100th sakura festival.

▼ This video offers a breathtaking aerial view of the sakura in Hirosaki.

▼ You can see a time-lapse view of the “flower raft” on the moat in this video.

While the cancellation of such an event is unavoidable under current circumstances, we certainly hope we’ll be in a situation to fully appreciate the cherry blossoms outdoors next spring. In the meantime, we’re sure there are plenty of gorgeous sakura photos you can enjoy online. Have fun looking through the pictures and stay safe!

Source: @Press
Top image: @Press
Insert images: Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival Information Site (弘前さくらまつり情報サイト)   (1), (2), (3)
Related: Hirosaki Park english website
Hirosaki Tourism And Convention Bureau website
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