SPRING 0

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After the plum blossoms have fallen, sumo comes to Osaka; the annual Osaka Tournament takes place at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in mid-March. The colorful banners that represent support for each wrestler are displayed in front of the venue, and the huge wrestlers can be seen walking the streets of the city.

At the end of March, and on through the beginning of April, the cherry blossoms burst into bloom, heralding the arrival of spring. You can see them everywhere, but they are especially delightful in places like the Nishinomaru Japanese Garden in Osaka Castle Park, in Nagai Park, and at Yodogawa Riverside Park. The Osaka Mint also has a tunnel of cherry trees that bloom in late April (slightly after the usual Japanese someyoshino cherry trees) along the banks of the Okawa River, near Nakanoshima. When in bloom, the area is opened to the public and picnics are a local tradition. Cherry blossoms are the absolute highlight of spring. Across the nation, everyone delights in strolling among the beautiful trees, and in sitting under them with family and friends, drinking and celebrating the arrival of spring. Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Osaka's most famous historical figure, loved viewing the beautiful blossoms. He was, in that sense, typically Osakan; everyone in Osaka loves the cherry blossoms even now.