Osaka Mint Begins Cherry Blossom Viewing Event

Osaka mint begins cherry blossom viewing event

On Tuesday, the day a redesign of Japan's banknotes was announced, thousands of people are flocking to a cherry blossom viewing event at the Japan Mint.

The annual event at the headquarters of the mint in Osaka, western Japan, dates back more than 130 years.

Nearly 3,000 people had been waiting for the mint to open since early in the morning. When the site opened at 10 a.m., the visitors strolled along a 560-meter path lined with 338 cherry trees of 134 varieties.

The mint has chosen the "Benitemari" as its blossom of the year. The variety, which is at 30 percent of its full bloom, features small, vivid pink flowers.

A woman in her 70s visiting from Kanagawa prefecture, eastern Japan, said, "My husband and I have wanted to come here for a long time. Our dream has finally come true. This is a great place since we are able to see many kinds of cherry blossoms from all around the country at the same time."

About 700,000 visitors are expected before the event ends on April 15. Those who come at night will be treated to a dazzling illumination of the trees.