If you cannot go to Japan to see the Sakura cherry blossoms this year, you can settle for the Singapore version.
Bright pink flowers are blooming en masse in the Japanese Cemetery Park in Hougang, reminiscent of springtime in more temperate regions.
In a post in the Singapore Hikers Facebook group on Mar. 25, Alfred Huang shared photos of the bright pink bougainvillea flowers, closely resembling the Sakura bloom.
Speaking to Mothership, the avid photographer shared that the photos were taken over two trips, and that he had gone to the cemetery on a whim over the past couple of days, after a friend's recommendation.
The park's resident cat was also featured in Huang's photos, appearing to enjoy the ambience in various poses.
Huang said that he thinks a family of cats lives in the park, as he has also observed some cat food in bottles kept near the toilet.
History of Japanese Cemetery Park
According to VisitSingapore, the Japanese Cemetery Park is the largest in Southeast Asia, with nearly 1,000 graves of Japanese civilians and soldiers, mostly from the early 20th-century.
Built in 1891, it originally served as a burial ground for "karayuki-san" – Japanese women brought to Singapore for prostitution, before it was utilised to hold the ashes of Japanese soldiers killed during World War II, as well as the remains of Japanese war criminals executed at Changi Prison.
The Sakura itself is a flower with a complex history – once a symbol used to stoke nationalism and militarism during the era of imperial expansion in Japan, it eventually evolved to become a symbol of peace, not war.
Today, it serves as a visual reminder that life is fleeting, signalling renewal and optimism.
Address: 22 Chuan Hoe Ave, Singapore 549854
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm, daily
Top image via Alfred Huang's Facebook