AP PHOTOS: Japan enjoys peak cherry blossoms, but no party

Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_80499 Visitors view seasonal cherry blossoms from a pedestrian bridge in the Roppongi district, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo. People across Japan are celebrating the peak cherry blossom viewing season this week without COVID-19 restrictions in place for the first time in two years, but many people strolled under the trees to enjoy flowers and falling petals rather than drinking and eating at sit-down parties.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_32493 People gather to take pictures under a canopy of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a park Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Tokyo. People across Japan are celebrating the peak cherry blossom viewing season this week without COVID-19 restrictions in place for the first time in two years, but many people strolled under the trees to enjoy flowers and falling petals rather than drinking and eating at sit-down parties.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_11366 A visitor takes a picture under a shower of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a Shinto shrine in Tokyo, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_34034 Visitors stroll under a shower of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a Shinto shrine in Tokyo, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_65442 In this long exposure photo, streaks of lights indicate vehicles moving under a canopy of cherry blossoms flowers lit by street lights, in Tokyo, Monday, March 28, 2022.
APTOPIX_Japan_Daily_Life_23493 Visitors view seasonal cherry blossoms from a pedestrian bridge in the Roppongi district, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
APTOPIX_Japan_Daily_Life_25163 A taxi drives along a row of blooming cherry blossoms Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo. Cherry blossoms, or “sakura,” are Japan’s favorite flower and usually reach their peak in late March to early April, just as the country celebrates the start of a new school and business year.
People gather to take pictures under a canopy of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a park Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_73941 People on boat view cherry blossoms in full bloom at the Chidorigafuchi palace moat in Tokyo Monday, March 28, 2022.
Visitors stroll under cherry blossoms in full bloom at a shinto shrine in Tokyo, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_20155 People stop to take pictures as they walk under a canopy of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a park Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_14638 Women wearing traditional Kimono outfits take a rickshaw ride under a canopy of the cherry blossoms in full bloom Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo. People across Japan are celebrating the peak cherry blossom viewing season this week without COVID-19 restrictions in place for the first time in two years, but many people strolled under the trees to enjoy flowers and falling petals rather than drinking and eating at sit-down parties.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_87320 A Japanese white-eye, also known as Mejiro, drinks the nectar of a cherry blossom in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. People across Japan are celebrating the peak cherry blossom viewing season this week without COVID-19 restrictions in place for the first time in two years, but many people strolled under the trees to enjoy flowers and falling petals rather than drinking and eating at sit-down parties.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_07784 People gather under cherry blossoms in full bloom at a park for a traditional flower viewing called "Hanami" to celebrate the spring season Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_01257 A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus view the seasonal cherry blossoms at the Ueno Park Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Tokyo.
A visitor takes a picture under a shower of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a shinto shrine in Tokyo, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_26483 People wearing face masks stroll under cherry blossoms in full bloom at the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_45313 People wearing face masks view seasonal cherry blossoms at the Sumida Park on Monday, March 28, 2022, in Tokyo.
People walk along a pedestrian crossing surrounded by blooming cherry blossoms Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo. Cherry blossoms, or “sakura,” are Japan’s favorite flower and usually reach their peak in late March to early April, just as the country celebrates the start of a new school and business year.
Visitors stroll under a shower of cherry blossoms in full bloom at a shinto shrine in Tokyo, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo.
Japan_Cherry_Blossoms_Photo_Gallery_62936 People view blooming cherry blossoms from an open tour bus Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tokyo. Cherry blossoms, or "sakura," are Japan's favorite flower and usually reach their peak in late March to early April, just as the country celebrates the start of a new school and business year.
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TOKYO (AP) — People are celebrating Japan’s peak cherry blossom viewing season without COVID-19 restrictions for the first time in two years. But many are strolling under the trees rather than drinking and eating in traditional party style.

Trees are in full bloom this week in many parts of Japan. They peaked in Tokyo on Sunday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, attracting many people who had avoided participating in the national tradition for two years because of the pandemic.

In many areas, viewers were asked not to gather under the trees for drinking parties — a traditional way of celebrating the season — as part of continuing anti-virus measures.

At Yoyogi and Ueno parks, areas were roped off to prevent people from sitting down and partying. Many parks put up signs forbidding parties with alcohol.

At Chidorigafuchi Park, a famous “hanami” or cherry blossom viewing spot northwest of the Imperial Palace, thousands of people admired the fluffy pale pink flowers while strolling under rows of trees or from rowboats on the palace moat.

Cherry blossoms, or “sakura,” are Japan’s favorite flower and usually reach their peak in late March to early April, just as the country celebrates the start of a new school and business year.

In Shinjuku Gyoen in downtown Tokyo, many people including families picnicked under the trees. The popular blossom viewing area of Nakameguro was full of people walking along a river lined with cherry blossom trees.

Japan lifted all formal COVID-19 restrictions last week after infections slowed, but experts have raised concerns about a resurgence prompted by people gathering and traveling during spring holidays.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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