Lockdown protocols are ever-shifting, and with public gatherings limited, annual hanami or cherry blossom celebrations are once again beaming into homes across the globe.
Here are some of the live-streams available to watch across Japan, the US and the UK – starting now.
The University of Washington’s neo-gothic Red Square courtyard is presently aglow with white cherry blossom. Like classes, it is being streamed virtually via the campus’ BloomCam and can be watched 24-hour on its website.
Washington DC’s National Mall
DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival has a long and storied tradition that stretches back almost a century, created in March 1912 when the capital was gifted cherry blossom trees from Tokyo mayor, Yukio Ozaki. Some 3,000 sakura are expected to burst into colour this weekend, accompanied by performances by Japanese and American artists. RSVP virtually to attend the broadcasted live-stream on Saturday, March 20 at 6:00 p.m EST. Peak bloom is expected 2-5 April 2021.
Some 800 Someiyoshino cherry trees line the Meguro River in Tokyo, attracting roughly 3 million visitors every spring, while in Western Tokyo, Koganei Park’s 1,700 cherry trees attract even more. They’re just two of the public parks forced to cancel their cherry blossom-viewing festivals this year in a bid to curb COVID-19 cases. Officials will update visitors this weekend about which locations are open for blossom viewing, but in the meantime, Chiyoda Ward has launched a live-stream on Youtube to capture peak bloom next week, 22-26 March 2021.
The historic Honpō-ji Temple will host a special digital concert with Japanese flautist Kazuya Sato on Saturday, 3 April 2021, to mark peak bloom. The 600-year-old temple is surrounded by ornate Japanese gardens with plumes of pink and white blossom, that can be enjoyed with a performance by Sato. The event is ticketed – see more here.
Building on the success of its 2020 #BlossomWatch campaign, the National Trust is once again encouraging the public to share their cherry blossom experiences to lift lockdown fatigue as England and Wales continue to trudge through the ‘roadmap’ to recovery. Pockets of Cornwall are already in colour, while the rest of the country will blossom over the coming weeks. Follow the hashtag #blossomwatch to see recent updates and live streams on Instagram.
While Toronto is officially a grey-zone and its famous High Park reopened to the public, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that the city is entering a ‘third wave’, meaning that Toronto may well choose to live-stream the cherry blossom again this season to stop crowds from gathering. Check the City Council’s homepage for fresh updates.