This past Sunday, March 29th, temperatures plummeted throughout the greater Kanto region, blanketing the northern area in snow as deep as 23 centimeters in Gunma Prefecture and 14 centimeters in Nagano Prefecture. The unseasonably late snowfall also caught the cherry blossoms, which had just reached the peak of their bloom, by surprise, a phenomenon known in Japanese as hanabie 花冷え, literally "flower chilling."

In Hitsujiyama Park, one of the more popular attractions of Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, student and photography enthusiast Uuumin (@uuu25w) ventured out to capture the surprising scene, posting these photos on Twitter:

With permission from @uuu25w

With permission from @uuu25w

With permission from @uuu25w

The Tokyo area, which was eerily quiet over the weekend under Mayor Yuriko Koike's urgent request for citizens to stay home and avoid unnecessary outings due to coronavirus infections, had not seen over a centimeter of snowfall after the peak of the sakura season for 51 years, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

The unusual juxtaposition of snow and sakura created a surreal scene, witnessed by a few souls who had pressing business to attend to.

Among those who were inspired by the scene, illustrator Youchan imagined a collaboration between hanabie and Amabie, the anti-plague demon:

Let's hope that the next time we see cherry blossoms in the snow, our world will be a happier, safer place.

By - Ben K.