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On Okinawa, it's bloom or bust

By TERI WEAVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 28, 2008

Cherry blossoms in Nago, Okinawa, have begun their annual flowery show, just in time for last weekend’s 46th Nago Sakura Festival.

The downtown festival included treks up and down tree-lined paths, a parade, traditional dance and music, and an array of festival foods.

Okinawa officials have said more than 40 percent of the island’s cherry blossoms are in bloom, though they looked a little timid during the weekend’s chilly rain.

But there’s good news: The Okinawa cherry blossoms last longer than their mainland cousins, which bloom in late March and early April and can lose their petals in less than a week in Tokyo. On Okinawa, the rosy blossoms usually last about a month.


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Cherry blossoms are opening on Okinawa, despite a relatively chilly weekend on the island. Saturday's highs were forecast to stay in the mid-60s, as visitors attended the 46th Nago Sakura Festival in Nago.

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Fried rice was one of many popular treats at the 46th Nago Sakura Festival on Okinawa.

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Festival snacks included yaki-soba (fried noodles), fried rice, corn dogs, fritters, pork ribs, french fries and okonomiyaki, a layered pancake.

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A vendor at the Nago Sakura Festival holds a generous helping of cherry blossom ice cream.

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Okinawan boys count the steps up a tree-lined path during the Nago Sakura Festival. "San hyaku ni-ju-san!" they sighed. That's 323 steps so far, only about halfway up the steep climp to the top of Nago Central Park.

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Cherry blossoms display their beauty in Nago at the city's 46th annual Sakura Festival. The blossoms have just begun opening and should last about a month.

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