Okinawa is first in Japan in many things, and here's just another example : Its the first place in Japan where Cherry Blossoms bloom every year.
Okinawa, along with a few select places in the Mainland sport this bright pink variety of the FORMOSA or TAIWAN CHERRY TREE. Some lighter and darker varieties may be seen here in the mountains of Okinawa's Motobu Peninsula during the month of January.
The rest of Japan usually goes with the more familiar blossoms that appear from white to various shades of very light pink, most being much lighter than the Cherry Blossoms I photographed here on Okinawa. Americans are used to seeing pictures of the "White and Light" varieties planted around Washington DC.
".......Approximately 3,750 cherry trees are on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. MOST of the trees are YOSHINO CHERRY. Other species include Kwanzan Cherry, Akebono Cherry, Takesimensis Cherry, Usuzumi Cherry, Weeping Japanese Cherry, Sargent Cherry, Autumn Flowering Cherry, Fugenzo Cherry, Afterglow Cherry, Shirofugen Cherry and Okame Cherry....." (From the Web)
Notice that there are NO Taiwan Cherry Trees in the above list.
For more technical details on these early blooming CHERRY TREES on OKINAWA see :
More of these tress will bloom about two weeks later in the nearby city of Nago, where they hold the largest annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Okinawa. I was there one weekend where about 300,000 people showed up during the three-day event.
As I pointed the camera up through the branches to take this quick pic, the BIC ICE lady and her Cherry Sherbet ice-cream was only a few feet away......and about to successfully tempt me into forsaking my iron-clad diet regime. She's in the next photo. God Bless Her !