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. Over 30,000 flowering Japanese cherry trees, or sakura, grow in four main groves on the hillside. Because the trees, some 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 usually arrives between early and mid-April. Most years, crowds wander through the town of Yoshino, visiting its traditional temples and shrines, before admiring the profusion of cherry blossoms, a custom known as hanami. Of course, we can practice hanami virtually with pictures. But if you're lucky enough to have a blooming cherry tree near you, we encourage you to pause and breathe the moment in.