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NAGO, OKINAWA, Japan – Members of the local and U.S. communities celebrated the Nago Cherry Blossom Festival from Jan. 25 to Jan. 26 in Nago.
The two-day festival is held annually on the last Saturday and Sunday of January, and includes food booths, a parade, street dancers and live performances.
“The cherry blossoms blooming this early is very rare,” said Reiki Lemasters, a native of Nago, Okinawa. “Sakura symbolizes rebirth and it is also celebrated in mainland Japan.”
Sakura is a Japanese folk song that depicts spring, the season of cherry blossoms.
Festival attendees can walk up the stairs and trails to see spectacular views of the East China Sea and Nago City. The park also contains the ruins of the ancient Nago Castle.
Participating in hanami at Nago Central Park is one of the best traditions that Okinawa possesses, said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. William Doran, with Camp Kinser Camp Operations .
Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers.
“You learn a lot,” said Doran. “There is a ton of culture and history here. It’s also a great time to come out here and interact with the locals.”
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