During the cool early spring months of February and March, the mountains of New Taipei City blush with the snow-like flowers of tens of thousands of Taiwan cherry, double-flowered cherry, and Yoshino cherry trees. The blossoms add a happy hue to the lush greenery of the forests and suffuse the city with a romantic air. You don't need to travel to Japan to enjoy the cherry blossoms: they are brilliantly represented in their unabashed beauty on the hillsides of New Taipei.
In April last year, residents of New Taipei City voted to select New Taipei's City Tree. The winner was the Taiwan cherry, a native species numbering more than 150,000 trees on public and private land in the city. This species sheds its leaves in fall and adorns in beautiful pink blooms in early spring. The blossom period lasts from late January to March. There are a number of good spots to enjoy the cherry blossoms in New Taipei around the time of the Lunar New Year holiday: Dahu Road, Beixin Road, and Qingshan Road in Sanzhi District; Wuji Tianyuan Temple, Denggong Road, Shuxing Village Cherry Blossom Avenue, and Sankongquan in Danshui District; the scenic area and along industrial roads in Wulai District; Dajian Mountain in Xizhi District; and Erge Park and Xiaogetou in Shiding District.
This year, the New Taipei City Government is holding the first New Taipei City Cherry Blossom Festival. Related activities will be held from February 11 (Sat) to March 17 in Sanzhi, Danshui, Shiding, Xizhi and Wulai districts, presenting a chance to experience the seasonal hues of the city. This is one post-holiday event you won't want to miss. The New Taipei City Government warmly invites everyone to join in this event to discover the natural beauty and local charms of city.
"Cherry Blossom Passports" will be freely distributed at district administration offices in New Taipei during the 2011 New Taipei City Cherry Blossom Festival. Festivalgoers with Cherry Blossom Passports or who say the secret catchphrase, "New Taipei City Cherry Blossom Festival: Great!" can enjoy special offers at participating businesses during the festival, says Agriculture Department Director Liao Jung-ching. Collect three or more commemorative activity stamps and you can also enter a drawing for a chance to win a liang (approx. 1.2 oz) of gold or one of 1,200 prizes. You can find out more about the 2011 New Taipei City Cherry Blossom Festival at www.sakura-ntc.com; or call the activity hotline at: (02) 2923-0887