The beginning of spring and the warm season in Beijing is signified by the appearance of the vivid pink blossoms of cherry and peach trees.
YuYuanTan (Jade Lake) Park is famous for its cherry blossom trees, and every spring holds a festival. In 1973, 180 cherry trees were sent as gifts from Japan and by now their number has grown to over 2000.
The Sakura festival draws huge crowds, with over a million people attending Beijing’s parks on the previous weekend. We visited on a Monday afternoon, but nobody else seemed to be at work either so the whole area was full of sightseers and over equipped amateur photographers taking part in the annual picture contest.
There seems to be a sense here that just because you can afford to buy all of the most expensive camera equipment, you need to use it all of the time. The recent rises in wealth leads to the regular sight of people attempting to take macro photos with a 600mm lens attached to their camera, whilst their long suffering wife and children stand to the side, holding circular reflector screens and huge flash guns.
Elsewhere people are climbing in, around and over the trees to have their photo taken amongst the blossoms. Many of the trees have names, and everyone has their favourites.
The rest of YuYuanTan Park is very attractive as well. Starting at the Tea House it’s possible to walk round the large central large and view the pink clouds of flowers, backed by the 405m high CCTV tower across the road.