Scene at the festival (Photo: kinhtenongthon.com.vn)

HCM City (VNA) - The first-ever cherry blossom festival in Ho Chi Minh City opened on April 22.

Prominent attendees at the event included former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, former Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Le Thanh Hai and his successor Dinh La Thang, as well as a delegation from Japan.

About 130 cherry trees and 10,000 blossom branches have been brought from Hokkaido, Japan to the festival at September 23 Park in District 1.

Numerous activities form part of the festival, featuring Vietnam-Japan cultural exchanges, Japanese martial arts performances and cartoon shows, art programmes by Vietnamese and Japanese artists, as well as an exhibition introducing the landscapes, the people and cultures of the two countries.

Vice Chairwoman of the Municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu attached significance to the event in the context of preparations for celebrating the 41st anniversary of the South’s Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30).

The festival is a practical activity to boost diplomatic ties, cultural exchanges and investment and tourism promotion between the city and Japan, thus consolidating the traditional friendship between the two nations, Thu said.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Iijima Isao, a special advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister highlighted the continuously growing fruitful relations between Vietnam and Japan, particularly with Ho Chi Minh City.

He expressed his hope the municipal residents and tourists will know more about the Japanese national flower, thanks to the festival.

Earlier, a cherry blossom festival took place between April 16-17 at the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in the capital of Hanoi.-VNA