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Buses offer 1-day pass through ‘sakura’ tunnel in Fukushima

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Bus passengers enjoy the “somei-yoshino” cherry blossoms in the Yonomori district of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, on April 6.
April 6, 2019
TOMIOKA, Fukushima Prefecture–For decades, locals have flocked to a 2-kilometer stretch of cherry trees in the Yonomori district here for “hanami” celebrations under the blossoms.
But the tunnel of cherry blossoms has been off-limits since the March 2011 nuclear accident at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
And while an evacuation order for about 90 percent of Tomioka was lifted in spring 2017, most of the Yonomori district still remains designated as a difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels.
Town officials pleaded with the central government for an exception to allow former town residents to once again enjoy the Yonomori cherry blossoms, and their wish came true on April 6.
For the one-day only occasion, buses packed with both former residents and others were allowed to navigate under the “sakura” tunnel. In the past, hanami visitors were stopped at a barrier designating the start of the difficult-to-return zone and had to gaze at the trees from that point.
… As of April 1, only 922 people, or less than 10 percent of the registered population, resided in Tomioka…
 
… The Tomioka town government has designated about 390 hectares of the difficult-to-return zone, including the Yonomori district, as a priority area for reconstruction and resuscitation. They are hoping the evacuation order will be lifted by spring 2023 if further decontamination work continues and social infrastructure is revamped.
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April 8, 2019 - Posted by | fukushima 2019 | ,

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