Travel

Tokyo discouraging cherry blossom parties over virus fears

But you can enjoy cherry blossoms here at Gardens By The Bay's sakura display event

TOKYO: The Tokyo government urged residents on Wednesday to refrain from joining parties at parks during the cherry blossom season, in the latest disruption caused by concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.

The season, which is expected to start in mid-March, is anticipated by locals and tourists alike. It is traditionally celebrated with hanami - or viewing parties - in cherry blossom hot spots, with picnics organised beneath the trees.

The metropolitan government said such events have risks of spreading the virus, which has infected at least 300 people in Japan.

"It is expected to be crowded at parks and near rivers managed by the Tokyo government during the cherry blossom season," the government said in a statement. "Please refrain from joining parties that involve food and drinks in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infections."


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They said walking to enjoy sakura, or cherry blossom, is fine, but advised people to wear masks if they are coughing.

The affected areas include famous parks in Ueno and Yoyogi and also Sumida River.

In a timely move, Gardens By The Bay has brought the Sakura Matsuri floral display back.

Running from today to March 29, 9am to 9pm, at Flower Dome, the fifth edition features over 500 cherry and peach blossom trees amid a Japanese springtime landscape inspired by the legend of the boy warrior Momotaro.

Look out for Gassho-style farmhouses with their distinctive, steep thatched roofs, a Japanese tea house and quintessential torii gates.

During this period, purchase a full-priced Singapore Resident conservatory ticket and receive another for free. - AFP

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