By YOSUKE FUKUDOME/ Staff Writer
April 5, 2021 at 17:50 JST
TOMIOKA, Fukushima Prefecture--Cherry blossom trees are in full bloom in an area that is still partly a no-go zone due to the triple meltdown at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Visitors to the 2.2-kilometer street of "somei-yoshino" trees, one of the most-popular spots for sakura viewing in Fukushima Prefecture, are only allowed to view the trees freely for about 800 meters.
The rows of trees in the Yonomori district, about 7 km southwest of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant, are also illuminated at night.
Evacuation orders issued after the accident at the plant caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami remain in effect for part of the area.
That didn't deter newlyweds Yuya and Ayano Endo, both 25, from visiting the open section of the stretch of cherry blossom trees to snap photos to celebrate their marriage.
Yuya Endo said the COVID-19 pandemic had already forced him to decide to postpone the couple's planned May wedding ceremony until a year later.
“I wanted to take pictures in my hometown,” he said.
At the time of the meltdowns at the plant, he was a student at Tomioka Daini junior high school close to the street where the sakura trees are.
“The cherry blossom trees are beautiful as usual,” he added.
Now he lives in Koriyama in the same prefecture, but comes to Tomioka with his father and grandfather to maintain their rice paddies.
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