Chilly, rainy weather delayed cherry blossoms in the Tokyo area beyond this year’s March 22 forecast. Then a timely spike in sunshine and warmth yielded blooms that drew massive crowds to parks across the metro area this week for picnicking and flower viewing.

Sakura blooms in the Tokyo area.

Sakura blooms in the Tokyo area. (Akifumi Ishikawa/Stars and Stripes)

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