MIHARU, Fukushima Prefecture--As it has for more than a millennium, a famed cherry tree is once again attracting admirers, whose numbers plunged last year in the wake of an earthquake and a nuclear accident.
Miharu Takizakura, more than 1,000 years old and counted as one of the nation’s three best cherry blossoms, has bloomed.
“I cannot say anything about the impact of radioactivity,” said Haruji Murata, 82, a gardener who has taken care of the tree for about 50 years. “But I can say the beauty and power (of the flowers) have not changed. As I have always done, I will enjoy them without thinking about anything else.”
The town of Miharu becomes literally tinted pink every spring when flowers bloom on more than 10,000 cherry trees.
Cherry blossoms usually attract 300,000 people from around the country to Miharu, with a population of 17,000.
Miharu Takizakura and other cherry trees did not suffer much damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake. But the number of visitors fell to less than half last year due to the earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
This year, a number of visitors have come from outside Fukushima Prefecture, although Miharu Takizakura bloomed much later than in average years.
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