AP PHOTOS: Cherry blossoms reach full bloom in Tokyo

TOKYO — Japan's famous cherry blossoms have reached full bloom in Tokyo as spring-like weather descends on the nation's capital.

Crowds flocked Monday to popular spots in much of Japan to enjoy the sea of delicate pink and white blooms.

Some laid down picnic sheets at Shinjuku Gyoen, a former imperial garden in the heart of Tokyo, to enjoy "hanami," the custom of blossom viewing. Eating and drinking under the trees is a popular pastime.

People young and old strolled beneath a canopy of cherry blossoms on a walkway along the Meguro River, also in central Tokyo. Some stopped to take selfies or close-ups of the blooms.

"There are of course so many beautiful flowers, but nothing compares to the cherry blossom," said one, Hiroko Igarashi.

Tourists and Tokyo residents paddled in rowboats in a picturesque moat lined with overhanging cherry trees outside the Imperial Palace.

The blooms in Tokyo are expected to last until the end of this week.

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