I used to love spring...

When spring arrives in Japan, so do the runny noses, itchy eyes, and other discomforts associated with hay fever (known in Japan as kafunsho - 花粉症).

Allergies are a common ailment in Japan, afflicting one in 10 people. The culprits of hay fever include pollen from the Japanese cypress and white birch trees, but the worst offender by far is cedar pollen. Because of last year's exceptionally hot summer, the cedar pollen count in many parts of Japan is expected to be much higher this spring than usual. In the most severely afflicted parts of the Kanto area (the region where Tokyo is located), forecasters are predicting up to 10 times the amounts measured last year; this is likely to cause many new cases of hay fever.

The picture above shows people shopping for hay fever prevention items at a Tokyu Hands store. The store has set up a corner with about 150 items for hay fever prevention, such as masks, goggles and nose cleansing kits. The goods will be on sale through March 31.

The saddest irony is that, in Tokyo and Osaka (cities with little enough greenery and vegetation), the few trees that remain are driving everybody crazy.


  1. Hi! Today,cedar pollen had been circulating in the air!!! sooooo terrible(><)! I can't stop sneeze and runny noses...I heard, tomorrow it will be circulating more! be careful!!


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