Japan cherry blossom season wilted by the coronavirus pandemic

A cherry tree in blossom with a person wearing a mask in the background.Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Crowds have been requested to remain away this cherry blossom season

The folks of Japan and thousands and thousands of vacationers ought to now be having fun with the beginning of the cherry blossom viewing, or hanami, season.

It’s an especially vital time of yr for the nation, each economically and culturally.

Traditionally family and friends get collectively, and for a brand new technology it is an ideal Instagram alternative.

But this yr the coronavirus pandemic means occasions have been cancelled and international guests are staying away.

Katsuhiro Miyamoto from Kansai University highlighted the monetary significance of hanami: “Japan’s cherry blossom season has very big economic effects every year”.

He estimated that just about 8.5m vacationers visited the nation throughout the cherry blossom season between March and May final yr, bringing in some 650 billion yen ($6bn; £5.2bn).

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cherry blossom viewing, or hanami, has deep cultural significance in Japan

Seijiro Takeshita from the University of Shizuoka underscored why the gatherings, at which individuals eat and drink and make merry, are so vital to the Japanese financial system.

“We use an expression ‘the wallet becomes loose’, meaning people tend to a have a very high propensity to spend.”

“We have so much emotional attachment to this flower and the viewing season… It has a lot of cultural factors, a lot of historical factors behind it,” Professor Takeshita added as he defined the broader significance of the cherry blossom season.

This yr although hanami occasions are being cancelled throughout the nation as authorities try and sluggish the unfold of the coronavirus.

Last week the governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike urged folks to not maintain their conventional events. At the identical time Ms Koike made reference to the cultural significance of hanami as she stated that it was like “taking hugs away from Italians.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cherry blossom season can also be highly regarded on social media

Professor Miyamoto expects such measures to sort out the pandemic will hit tourism numbers arduous this season, with income falling by greater than a 3rd to lower than 400 billion yen.

It’s not all gloom and doom although. “Once the coronavirus outbreak is over, I believe that the cherry blossom season in Japan will come to life again,” he concluded.

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