Atami Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the earliest
events to see the cherry blossoms. From late January to
mid-February is usually around the time the festival is
held. You can find all the festival activities by the Itogawa
River where many of the Atami sakura (cherry blossom)
are planted. You can also take a nice stroll up and down
the river while enjoying the flurry of cherry blossoms. The
Atami Cherry Blossom Festival is held at the Itokawa
Promenade. Around that area you can see some street
and band performances during the Atami Cherry
Blossom Festival. In addition to that the locals offer a free
cherry tea service to all the patrons. Then at night the
cherry blossoms are illuminated giving people the
opportunity to enjoy them throughout the day.
The Atami sakura is a very unique species of cherry blossom because it is resistant to cold weather. It is a variety that is native to India. Around 1871, Italian people introduced the cherry blossom when they brought it along with lemons and date palms. Afterwards the locals of the city continued to plant more the variety around the city. In 1977, the variety was officially named Atami sakura after the city. The early and late blooms of the cherry blossom form two layers on the same branch, thus allowing the month long viewing visitors can partake in.