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Springwatch in Japan: Cherry Blossom Time
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For the Japanese, the arrival of the sakura (cherry blossom) is not just a spectacle of nature. It has become one of the country’s most important cultural moments, too.
Chris Packham, James Wong and Michaela Strachan indulge in “Hanami”, the national tradition of flower watching. And they explore the wildlife that lives in harmony with the blossom, from tiny white-eye birds to nocturnal raccoon dogs that feed on scraps left over from Hanami parties.
While sakura celebrations in the city can be frenetic, a trip to the spiritual mountains of Yoshino (reputedly the best place to see the blossom) is one of tranquillity and serene beauty.
The sakura spring is an impressive sight, as blankets of cherry blossom flowers transform Japan's landscape. Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and James Wong join hundreds of thousands of travellers visiting Japan to indulge in hanami - the national tradition of flower watching. As each follows their own sakura stories, the trio learn that the arrival of the blossom is not just a spectacle of nature - it has become one of the country's most important cultural moments, influencing its economy, tourism and family tradition.
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