Every year after the majority of sakura (cherry) trees have bloomed, the zoheikyoku (Mint of Japan) has their cherry blossom viewing. The types of trees that the Mint has are the double cherry, which usually blooms later than the single type.
From what I understand there are 3 Mints, the main one in Osaka, and smaller ones in Tokyo and Hiroshima.
The first time Satoshi and I went to this cherry viewing was pre-blog and a really bad experience.
For one thing, they make you walk one way through the property. Not knowing this at that time, we had walked through the crowds of people that ran parallel to the Mint--through the food booths and games that you usually see at festivals in Japan, and ended up at the exit to the event. The security guard told us if we wanted to see the blossoms we would have to turn around, go back through the crowd and start over...ugh!
So, after that experience, we never went back to check this place out...until yesterday.
It was a really sunny day...to the tune of 27C (80.6F). We followed the line of people to the Mint and were corralled through the walkways of the property to view the blossoms.
Throughout the walkways, they had security guards blasting us with their megaphones, telling us "not to stop to take photos or stop to look at the blossoms, but enjoy yourselves".....WT?! (picture of one of the mood breakers) Of course, most of us just ignored them and snapped away...
Within the 560 meters of walkway there are 126 different species and 348 cherry trees. (They also have a museum, but it wasn't open while we were there.)
Every year they pick a species as "the tree of the year", this year was the "hirano-nadeshiko", which I wish I could show you a photo of, but the signage was bad so we couldn't figure out which tree it was and of course, I couldn't "stop to photograph" it....sigh.
So, despite the bad taste in our mouths with this event, we got to see some beautiful cherry blossoms for the last time this year.
They only have this event for a week and are also open in the evenings for night time viewing...though I think we've had our fill of these types of viewings (the kind where everyone is at) and will probably stick to those places where we can view the blossoms at our leisure and maybe with more elbow room. I'll post more photos on Flickr.
Zoheikyoku (Osaka Mint)
located near the Tenmabashi station