19 Avril 2017
By YOSUKE FUKUDOME/ Staff Writer
Cherry blossoms are at their peak in the Yonomori district of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture. Most of the flowers there are located in a difficult-to-return zone. (Video taken by Yosuke Fukudome)
TOMIOKA, Fukushima Prefecture--Cherry blossoms are now at their peak in the Yonomori district here, but revelers of “hanami” viewing parties are notably absent from this once-popular sightseeing spot.
“Someiyoshino” cherry blossom trees line a 2.2-kilometer section of the road, but most of it is deserted. Only a 300-meter stretch in the southernmost part is located in an area that has had its evacuation order lifted on April 1.
The remaining portion is situated in a difficult-to-return zone. People who lived there before the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 are only allowed to return to their houses temporarily.
On April 17, a 63-year-old man who temporarily returned to his house in the zone with his wife, wore protective gear to take photos of the cherry blossoms there.
Speaking on behalf of the dispersed Tomioka community, he said: “These cherry blossoms exist in all the people’s memories. It is the best row of cherry blossom trees in Japan.”