The Japanese capital has entered sakura or the peak season of cherry blossoms that lasts for barely two weeks, and marks the beginning of spring.

Thousands of Japanese are celebrating the arrival of the new season - one of the most anticipated events of the year in the country - with mass "hanami", or picnics under the cherry blossoms, dressed in their best clothes and loaded with traditional bento food boxes, beer and sake (rice wine).

People enjoy a party under the blooming cherry blossoms at Ueno Park, one of the most popular cherry blossoms viewing party venues in Tokyo. Photo / AP
People enjoy a party under the blooming cherry blossoms at Ueno Park, one of the most popular cherry blossoms viewing party venues in Tokyo. Photo / AP

Japan's Meteorological Agency announced on March 21 that cherry trees had begun to flower in Tokyo's Yasukuni Temple, to mark the beginning of "sakura" in the city.

However, spring has been colder than expected this year and this has affected the cherry blossoms from blooming in their full splendour.

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A visitor takes a picture of blooming cherry blossoms next to a
A visitor takes a picture of blooming cherry blossoms next to a "Hands off blooming cherry" sign at Ueno Park in Tokyo. Photo / AP

Spring time and cherry blossoms attract a huge number of tourists every year to Japan.

In 2015 alone, more than 1.5 million foreigners visited the Japanese archipelago in March and more than 1.7 million in April, 45.3 per cent and 43.3 per cent respectively more than the previous year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation.

A couple dressed in Japanese traditional wedding Kimonos pose for a photograph under the blooming cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Photo / AP
A couple dressed in Japanese traditional wedding Kimonos pose for a photograph under the blooming cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Photo / AP
Women in traditional attire perform Japanese traditional dance during Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival in Tokyo. Photo / AP
Women in traditional attire perform Japanese traditional dance during Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival in Tokyo. Photo / AP

The celebration, however, goes beyond the trees, with businesses marketing products designed exclusively for Sakura, including soaps, face masks, sneakers and limited edition watches.

Mc Donalds Sakura style πŸ˜πŸ’—βœ¨ @mcdonaldsjapan

A post shared by ζ—₯本 πŸ—ΎπŸŽŒβ€οΈ (@dailyjapanlove) on

Restaurants and cafes, too, offer special Sakura themed food and beverages.

- AAP