Nothing beats the simple beauty of a cherry blossom in full bloom. While most varieties of the tree do not produce fruit, their pinkish-white flowers are admired by people all across the world.

In Japan, cherry blossoms represent the beauty and fragility of life, a symbolic notion that has existed for centuries, as seen in ancient Japanese paintings and mythology. When the flowers bloom—creating a dreamy scene of white and pink petals, people gather together to celebrate and remind themselves that while life is a blessing, it is also tragically short.

Called “Sakura,” the cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower, playing a role in both political and cultural traditions. Check out these incredible images of cherry blossoms before spring’s blooms submit to the summer heat:

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The cherry blossom's transformation from bud to bloom is short and sweet. Check it out in this time-lapse video:

Feel like your part of scenery in this clip of Sakura blooming throughout Japan:

Kiri Picone
Bay Area transplant Kiri Picone is a writer and marketer who loves bizarre news and the color purple.
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