Stores in Japan cash in on a sakura viewing season without Covid-19 restrictions

People rest under cherry blossom trees in full bloom at a park in the Sumida district of Tokyo on March 22, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - With cherry blossom trees in full bloom in Tokyo, there has been a retail rush to sell various products for the first cherry blossom viewing season in four years without Covid-19 restrictions.

At department stores, alcoholic beverages that can be easily enjoyed while on the go and bento meals prepared with a wide variety of small, elaborate portions of foods are some of the products gaining popularity.

Sales of wine in plastic cups and canned goods have been increasing at the Daimaru Tokyo department store in Chiyoda ward since the end of last week when cherry blossoms started to come into full bloom.

To cope with the demand, the store has increased the supply of products that are easy to eat and drink by about 20 per cent, with cherry blossom viewers in mind.

Reservations for take-out sushi and yakitori are said to have increased about 30 per cent from the previous year at the Matsuya Asakusa department store in the city’s Asakusa district.

The store is close to the Sumida River, an area famous for cherry blossoms.

Other related goods are also selling well.

Discount store Don Quijote set up a special section with picnic sheets, paper cups and other products for cherry blossom viewing at some of its stores.

The sales of picnic sheets were about three times higher than usual at some stores.

Research firm Intage estimates that the market for cherry blossom viewing-related products will generate sales of ¥210 billion (S$2.13 billion) this spring, about double what it was in the same season in 2022.

“We are likely to see a change in the mode of restraint,” said an Intage official. THE JAPAN NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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