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AP PHOTOS: The Ephemeral Beauty of Japan's Cherry Blossoms

AP PHOTOS: The Ephemeral Beauty of Japan's Cherry Blossoms

TOKYO (AP) — The blossoms are out, in an explosion of pink, a drab day transformed.

Japan's cherry blossoms, or "sakura" in Japanese, never cease to inspire. The gnarled trees bloom before they have leaves, their thin branches spilling over with delicate pink-white blossoms and nothing else.

For more than a week, they have brightened up a country still trying to shake off the chill of early spring. Cherry blossom viewing, or "hanami," is an annual ritual that takes many forms, from contemplative walks along rows of cherry trees to boisterous picnics in crowded public parks.

And then it's over, an ephemeral beauty filling the trees, before fluttering earthward in the breeze.

1. Couple Tea Ceremony. FILE - In this Saturday, April 2, 2016, file photo, a couple enjoys a tea ceremony on a boat in a river under blooming cherry blossoms in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Japan’s cherry blossoms, or “sakura” in Japanese, never cease to inspire. The gnarled trees bloom before they have leaves, their thin branches spilling over with delicate pink-white blossoms and nothing else. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

2. Paddle Time. FILE - In this Saturday, April 2, 2016, file photo, people paddle under blooming cherry blossoms in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms, from contemplative walks along rows of cherry trees to boisterous picnics in crowded public parks. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

3. River Crossing. FILE - In the Saturday, April 2, 2016 photo, a child tries to cross over a river under blooming cherry blossoms in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms, from contemplative walks along rows of cherry trees to boisterous picnics in crowded public parks. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

4. All Smiles. FILE - In this Monday, April 4, 2016, file photo, people enjoy blooming cherry blossoms at Chidorigafuch moat in Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

5. Picture Perfect. FILE - In this Monday, April 4, 2016, file photo, a woman takes a photo on a boat through a sea of cherry blossom petals in the Imperial Palace moat in Tokyo. People all over the country are photographing the blossoms as the country's iconic flower is full bloom. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

6. Row Revolution. FILE - In this Monday, April 4, 2016, file photo, people row their boats under cherry blossoms at Imperial Palace moat in Tokyo. Japan’s cherry blossoms, or “sakura” in Japanese, never cease to inspire. The gnarled trees bloom before they have leaves, their thin branches spilling over with delicate pink-white blossoms and nothing else (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

7. At Ueno Park. FILE - In this Sunday, April 3, 2016, file photo, people enjoy cherry-blossom viewing at Ueno Park in Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

8. Boat Supreme. FILE - In this Sunday, April 3, 2016, file photo, people pedal swan-shaped boats near cherry blossoms at Ueno Park in Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

9. Breathtaking Sakura. FILE - In this Sunday, April 3, 2016, file photo, people admire cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

10. Through A Child's Eyes. FILE - In this Sunday, April 3, 2016, photo, a girl is held as she looks at a cherry blossom in Ueno Park in Tokyo. Japan’s cherry blossoms, or “sakura” in Japanese, never cease to inspire. The gnarled trees bloom before they have leaves, their thin branches spilling over with delicate pink-white blossoms and nothing else. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

11. Tourist Attraction. FILE - In this Sunday, April 3, 2016, file photo, visitors enjoy cherry-blossom viewing at Ueno Park in Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

Banner Image: FILE - In this Saturday, April 2, 2016, file photo, people view cherry blossoms in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Cherry blossom viewing, or “hanami,” is an annual ritual that takes many forms, from contemplative walks along rows of cherry trees to boisterous picnics in crowded public parks. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

 

ALSO CHECK OUT: LENSpeak: Of Tokyo's Traditions and Modern Love

 

 

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