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Famous cherry-blossom lane in Osaka reopens after 2 years

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A famous cherry-blossom lane in Osaka that is home to 138 varieties of sakura tree and 335 trees in total reopened Wednesday after a two-year closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The more than 130-year-old lane in the grounds of the Japan Mint’s headquarters in the western Japanese city will remain open until next Tuesday, but online reservations are needed beforehand as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday morning, a long line of visitors at the venue’s south gate waited to enter the 560-meter long path. Many of them later took pictures of the pink and light red colored sakura petals as they posed with the trees.

“It is wonderful to see the sakura blooming, as if the flowers were about to slip from the branches,” said Masatoshi Sakai, 75, who came from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. “I could enjoy them at a slow pace with a smaller crowd.”

Around 170,000 visitors are expected to visit the lane this year. Before the pandemic in 2019, the event attracted nearly 600,000 people.

The sakura lane has been open to the public since 1883 and was last closed for four years from 1943 during World War II.

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