First sakura park in the country to bloom in Benguet

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  • We will soon have a cherry blossom park in the country. Officials planted over 30 cherry blossoms and other kinds of trees from Japan on Monday (June 6) in Atok, Benguet.

(CNN Philippines) — The first-ever sakura or cherry blossom park in the country is opening in Benguet.

Officials of Atok, Benguet, along with officials from the Kochi prefecture and Japanese embassy planted over 30 cherry blossoms and other kinds of trees from Japan on Monday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of sisterhood ties between Japan’s Kochi prefecture and Benguet province.

The mountaintop park 2,000 meters above sea level will be opened to campers.

More than 100 cherry blossoms were initially propagated in November 2015 but only a few survived because they were planted at the wrong time of the year, according to Japanese botanist Kiyuharu Yamamoto.

This time, they are planting it at the start of the rainy season.

They also intend to plant sakura trees in several other nature parks in Benguet such as Mt. Timbac and Mt. Pulag.

The sakura trees are expected to bloom after three years. Atok is about 2 hours and 30 minutes away from Baguio City.

Cherry blossoms in Japan

In Japan, sakura blooms around March to May. In major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the cherry blossom season typically happens in early April -- a major tourist attraction this time of the year.

More than 2 million tourists visited Japan in March 2016, according to a report by the Japan National Tourism Organization. They recorded 37,500 Filipino visitors the same month, up from 26,786 in 2015.

Air fares from Manila to Japan during this season range from ₱6,000 to ₱20,000, depending on the airline promos.

The Department of Tourism and the Department of Environmental and Natural resources in Cordillera expressed commitment to support the project, in the hopes that the park becomes a tourist destination once the trees grow and bear flowers.

PIA-CAR/BENGUET: Cordillera DOT Director Venus Tan and DENR Director Ralph Pablo represented by PENRO Julio Lopez also...

Posted by Philippine Information Agency- Cordillera on Monday, June 6, 2016

Baguio-based journalist Karl Lapniten and CNN Philippines intern Cheska Albiola contributed to this story.