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Agoda in the News

Agoda.com Cheers Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival

BANGKOK, March 04, 2009

It's time to go blooming-crazy as "Hanami", Japan's cherry blossom viewing season, draws near. A huge event throughout Japan, the festival celebrates the blooming of cherry trees at around the end of March and generally lasts until early April. Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka are the most popular cities to witness this spectacular natural event and to ensure everyone gets a chance to view the delicate pink and white blossoms. Agoda.com, an online hotel booking company, has secured some fantastic hotel deals throughout Japan.

Cherry blossoms, also known as Sakura, bloom simultaneously in the spring for one week. Recognized as Japan’s unofficial national flower, Sakura have frequently been used to establish diplomatic ties between Japan and other countries. The flowers reach full bloom and flutter to the ground gracefully during their final stage. The Japanese believe that these blossoms symbolize human life, transience and nobility. The blossoms begin in the southernmost island of Japan, Okinawa, in January and reach Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in late March. These three cities are among the top 100 best Sakura spots selected by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association.

Mr. Toshiaki Banshoya, Director of Distribution Marketing, New Otani Hotels, commented, "This year, the cherry blossoms are predicted to arrive in Tokyo a couple of days ahead of schedule. Cherry blossom viewing is extremely popular in Japan and draws large numbers of tourists from all over the world. Popular in parks and gardens, even bustling Tokyo looks serene with the white and pink cherry blossom petals along the streets. The scenery is beautiful, but it's also interesting to watch the locals take it in as they sit under the blooming cherry trees. Tourists enjoy Japanese lunchboxes while viewing traditional dance and music, and visit castles, parks, temples, or shrines. The blooming only lasts one week and so timing is critical. It is highly recommended that travelers secure accommodation early."

Tokyo's busy Ueno Park, with 1,500 cherry trees, is the best place to view Sakura. Cherry blossoms in Kyoto and Osaka tend to bloom several days later. The Arashiyama Mountain, with the Togetsukyo Wood Bridge, and Kyoto’s Imperial Palace provide beautifully picturesque scenes. Four thousand Sakura trees around Osaka Castle are illuminated at night for one week at the end of March and beginning of April, while Osaka Expo Park with over 5,500 cherry trees is a great place to have a picnic while viewing the cherry blossoms.

Mr. Wilfred Fan, Agoda Vice President of Business Development, said, "Japan has been a very popular destination for Agoda customers, especially during Hanami, the traditional blossom viewing party. Throughout Japan you’ll find rows of cherry trees with their pink and white blossoms, creating a romantic atmosphere that soften the edges of modern city lives. Agoda wants to ensure tourists get to enjoy this amazing, natural event and we have secured special deals throughout Japan."

Agoda's best Japan hotel deals include

Tokyo
Hotel New Otani The Main,Tokyo  5 Star hotel, Rate starting at USD 236 (normally USD 408)
Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa,Tokyo,  3.5 Star hotel. Rate starting at USD 134 (normally USD 231)

Kyoto
Hotel Village Kyoto,  3 Star hotel. Rate starting at USD 222 (normally USD 385)

Osaka
Claiton Shin Osaka Hotel,Osaka,  3 Star hotel. Rate starting at USD 62 (normally USD 107)
Swissotel Nankai Osaka Hotel,Osaka,  5 Star hotel. Rate starting at USD 179 (normally USD 310)

For more information regarding Agoda, please access its website at www.agoda.com or contact the Agoda Team via e-mail at info@agoda.com.


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