Cherry blossoms will bloom on the new Tokyo license plates

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Can you recognize the cultural greeting from Tokyo in the sakura pattern?

It’s no secret that Japan’s favorite flower is sakuraand for this reason, urban planners will often take them into account Cherry blossoms in their city layouts. A street lined with sakura trees or a park full of sakura groves can really add a sense of cultural prestige and community pride.

That’s why the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced a plan that will allow residents and visitors to see a lot more sakura in the Japanese capital. What’s more, you will be able to watch them all year round, because that’s the plan add cherry blossoms to Tokyo license plates.

After decades of dictating that standard passenger car plates consist only of dark green text and numbers on a plain white field, the Japanese government has sharply relaxed design regulations in recent years (hence presumably a license plate with a cute puppy on the way). With an essentially blank canvas to show what makes their part of Japan special, Tokyo opted for Somei Yoshino cherry trees, not only because they are the most prolific variety of sakura in Japan, but because Somei-Yoshino’s flower is Tokyo Prefectural Flower.

▼ Lightweight compact kei cars they usually have black text on a yellow field, but for Tokyo plates they have a yellow border.

In addition to the Somei-Yoshino and “Tokyo” fonts written in both brushstrokes and a typical font in the upper right corner, there are two other nods to the capital of Japan included in the graphic. The obvious is of course tokyo towerbut the other is in geometric pattern on cherry trees. calls “shipment”, a series of overlapping circles is an auspicious symbol representing the seven treasures of Buddhism and has been a popular motif for Edo Kirikoa type of cut glass craft that flourished in Tokyo during the samurai era.

▼ The green frame plate is for commercial vehicles.

The design of the license plate was selected through a survey of 11,742 responses from Tokyo residents and non-residents who drive a vehicle with Tokyo license plates for work or other reasons. The winning design received 57.1 percent of the votes, followed by a design with another Edo kiriko design garnering 23.7 percent…

… and a more direct portrayal of Somei Yoshino, which came third with only 19.2 percent, perhaps because it came out sakura-ed by the winning plate.

In Japan, license plates are issued at the local subprefectural level, but Somei-Yoshino/Tokyo Tower plates will be available for all cars registered in Tokyo. The sample plates are intended for registration in Tokyo’s Shinagawa (品川) district, but drivers from Koto, Setagaya, Suginami, Itabashi, Katsushika, Nerima, Adachi, Tama and Hachioji will also be able to use them in their cars. The first five of them already have their own plates, which means that when the Somei-Yoshino/Tokyo Tower plates come into circulation, drivers in these parts of Tokyo will have a choice of three different plates, according to the existing green text/ also plain white field boards.

▼ Individual plates for Koto, Setagaya, Suginami, Itabashi, Katsushika

Cherry blossom license plates still need to get final approval from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the process is not expected to be completed until July, but barring unforeseen problems, sakura should start blooming on Tokyo license plates in October next year.

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government by Japanese
Top image: Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Insert images: Tokyo Metropolitan Government (1, 2)
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