An annual cherry blossom viewing event, held for more than 130 years to herald the arrival of spring, began Tuesday in western Japan.
The seasonal event at the Japan Mint Head Office in Osaka's Kita Ward attracted some 700,000 visitors last year, with around 650,000 expected this year.
The best time to enjoy the cherry blossoms will be the coming weekend, before the event ends next Monday, according to the governmental agency responsible for the supply of Japan's coins.
Despite wind, rain and cold temperatures, many visitors gazed at the trees coated in bright pink and snapped photos of them after the gate opened at 10 a.m.
The cherry garden displays 350 trees of 134 different varieties along a 560-merer path from the venue's south gate to the north gate.
Among the trees, the Japan Mint selected the ukon variety, which boasts light yellowish green petals, as blossom of the year.
A Kushima-zakura tree originating from Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, has been newly added to the list of the cherry trees displayed in the garden.
"Although there were still lots of cherry blossoms that are still in bud, I am happy to see some in full bloom," said Hisahiro Hiramatsu, a 67-year-old resident of Osaka's Tsurumi Ward.
The annual event has been uninterrupted since 1883 except for during World War II and its aftermath. It offers free admittance and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekend.