Sakura Shrine 

Cherry blossoms hover outside the torii gate at Suwa-jinja in downtown Kitakami.

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The Temple of Bloom 

The "cherry blossom front" is finally crossing Kitakami on its northward journey. In the warmest parts of town, the cherry trees are in or near full bloom, while they're just starting to bloom in cooler areas near the rivers or in the mountains. Here are the cherry trees at the tiny Buddhist temple near our house.

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The cherry trees have already started blooming in the southern parts of Honshu. Here in Kitakami, the cherry blossoms are still a few weeks off, but their advance team has arrived. Plum blossoms started appearing last week, despite three days of snow.

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Looks Like Autumn 

Masses of variously colored cosmos flowers are very common around Kitakami in the fall.

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Symbol of Kitakami 

The white lily is Kitakami's city flower.

These ones are growing in a neighbor's yard. They also grow wild along the mountain roads in the area.
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Where the Green Fern Grows 

A fern growing in the Juniko area (in Aomori Prefecture) of the Shirakami Mountains.

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Village Beauty 

A pink waterlily floats in the lake beside the tofu-making shop at Battari-mura.

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Late Spring Flowers 

Beautiful wildflowers and pink azaleas alongside the Hitokabe River in Oshu City.

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In Japan, the sakura are not just spectacular to look at — they also herald the coming spring. While the cherry blossoms distract everyone, the rest of the plant kingdom quietly push out their buds and flowers.

These photos are from the end of April.

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Turtle Tree 

A kame no ki (turtle tree) flowering in early May.

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