Mount Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, Japan
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The mountain of 30,000 sakura
Mount Yoshino ranks as one of the best places in Japan to immerse yourself in the spring cherry blossom season. More than 30,000 flowering Japanese cherry trees, or sakura, grow in four main groves on the hillside. Because the trees, some of which were planted over 1,300 years ago, grow at different elevations, the cherry blossom front gradually moves up the mountain in a slow, fragrant wave as the season progresses. Peak bloom is usually between early and mid-April. In other years, crowds would wander through the town of Yoshino, visiting its traditional temples and shires, before admiring the profusion of cherry blossoms, a custom known as hanami. Of course, we can all enjoy the blossom virtually with pictures, but if you're lucky enough to have a blooming cherry tree near you, now’s the time to try a bit of hanami at home.