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The Big Business of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms

April 5, 2019
Bloomberg /

There’s a popular saying in Japanese: dumplings over blossoms—meaning substance is better than beauty. But that might sell short the phenomenon of cherry-blossom season in Japan. Over the course of a few weeks, cherry trees across the country burst into bloom, painting the country in shades of pink and white. It’s become a national obsession with growing global appeal—and it’s a boon to Japan’s economy.

An estimated 63 million people travel to and within Japan to view the bloom, spending around $2.7 billion (301 billion yen) in the process, according to an analysis from Kansai University. With the bloom currently underway and the number of tourists up in the first two months of the year, a record number of visitors is expected again.