Kita Asaba Cherry Blossoms today, March 6th 2020, for Photo Friday.
Kita Asaba Cherry Blossoms Today
Thank goodness for kanzakura, early blooming cherry blossoms, in this surreal time of Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus. They bring some light and color, hope even, in these dismal times and offer a respite from the constant talk of Corona.
Covid 19 Novel Coronavirus
In a dramatic move to try and help curb the spread of COVID, Novel Coronavirus, the vast majority of the schools were closed in Japan effective from Monday March 2nd. They will remain closed until Spring Break which starts around March 25th / 26th depending on which prefecture you are in. School resumes, all things being equal, around the 7th of April, so in effect kids have another five weeks off school.
They advised us to stay indoors, but that is good for neither mind nor body. And there are many circumstances in which people need to get out and about. There are also visitors from overseas who have spent hard earned money on the trip of a lifetime only to find that 99% of the places / events on their itinerary have been closed / cancelled.
Kita Asaba Cherry Blossoms
If you are looking for somewhere to go in Japan during Covid-19, the good news is there are still many places you can enjoy. Particularly outdoors. For example, cherry blossom promenades known as sakura tsutsumi in Japanese. The sakura tsutsumi in the Nissai area is 1.2 kilometers along. They are currently coming into full bloom. Today they were at about 70%. They are an early blooming cherry blossom known as Kanzakura.
It would seem many people have the same idea to get out and about during the coronavirus lock down in Japan. So please note that while this location is open to the public, it is not “safe” from the threat of Covid-19. There are many people, virologists included, who believe that the novel coronavirus doesn’t spread as easily outdoors. But the consideration with somewhere like Kita Asaba is the volume of people. If it was this busy today before full bloom, it is highly likely that it will be crowded over the coming weeks.
The Nissai Sakado Festival that is held at this sakura promenade has been cancelled, but the promenade where the kanzakura are, is open to the public. Even the car park and the toilets. Due to the shortage of toilet paper in Japan it is wise to bring a supply of paper with you wherever you go as some public facilities have stopped supplying it. They initially said, even after the festival was cancelled, that they would put on the free shuttle bus as normal, but this week they announced that they are also cancelling the free shuttle bus.
200 hours outside
We have been taking a popular and trending challenge to match kids time outdoors with at least the average time they spend on devices / screens. Which, incidentally, research has shown to be a whopping 1000 to 1200 hours on average yearly. The challenge is called 1000 hours outside and, as you can probably deduce, the aim is to spend a 1000 hours outside in 2020.
To take a positive out of all this COVID-19 doom and gloom, it is a chance for us to spend more time in the great outdoors. Yesterday, we reached 200 hours out of the 1000 hours. The kids got a treat last night in celebration and my reward today was to visit the cherry blossoms at Kita Asaba. There is something very therapeutic about cherry blossoms or “cheery blossoms” as I like to call them now, thanks to Andy’s comment on the Sumiyoshi cherry blossom post.
Follow Kita Asaba Sakado Kanzakura (北浅羽桜堤) on Instagram for the most up-to-date images of the condition of the cherry blossoms.