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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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cherry blossom, japan,

Capturing the Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

To view more photos and videos of cherry blossoms and hanami parties throughout Japan, browse the #, #花見 and #お花見 hashtags on Instagram.

In Japan, sakura (桜), or cherry blossoms, stand as the symbolic flower of spring and start appearing all over the country as the seasons change. During this season, rows of cherry trees with their pastel-pink crowns transform the country and shower the streets in falling petals. People go out to gardens, streets and parks for hanami (花見), or flower viewing, to appreciate the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the mild weather after the long, cold winter. Often, hanami involves picnicking in the best sakura locations and enjoying food and drinks with friends under cherry trees. The blooming of sakura begins from the south around late March and spreads northward through the beginning of May.

Want to see more photos and videos from some of the most famous sakura locations in Japan? Explore the location pages below:

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instagram news,

Instagram Today: 200 Million Strong

Today, we’re excited to share that the Instagram community has grown to more than 200 million Instagrammers capturing and sharing their lives every month.

From documenting a passion for jazz to the protests in Kiev, we’re continually surprised and humbled by the moments you share. As we exceed 20 billion photos shared on Instagram to date, we look back in wonder at the beauty and importance of everything this community has created.

The vibrance and diversity of this community has increased as it has grown. Over the past six months, we’ve seen new communities coming together in cities and towns across the world, whether they be in Guthrie, Oklahoma, or Guatemala City. With January’s Worldwide InstaMeet 8, we saw record turnouts of communities coming together to form friendships, explore new places and celebrate creativity in all corners of the globe from New Dehli to New York, Bucharest, Nairobi and beyond.

To the 50 million of you who’ve joined in the last six months, welcome. We’re so glad you’re here. And from our team to all 200 million of you, thank you for making Instagram great. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.

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russia, user feature, urban exploring,

Viewing the World from Above with @raskalov and @makhorov

To see more photos and views from high above, follow @raskalov and @makhorov on Instagram.

Standing on the roofs of buildings that reach higher than 500 meters (1,640 feet) tall would be terrifying for most, but for Russian Instagrammers Vitaliy Raskalov (@raskalov) and Vadim Makhorov (@makhorov) great heights are a daily adventure.

"One day my friends took me on a roof trip," explains Vitaliy. "That was the start of my long journey. It was a hobby at first, but now it has became a kind of work."

Vitaliy and Vadim post photos to Instagram from the top of some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, including China’s Shanghai Tower and Russia’s Moscow City Tower. This daredevil activity, not to be tried at home, is known as urban exploring.

"I use Instagram because it’s fast and easy to save such beautiful moments—and I enjoy the responses from the community," Vitaliy adds.

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weekend hashtag project, WHP3x5, video on instagram,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHP3x5

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend’s tag was #WHP3x5, which asked participants to create a 15-second video made of three five-second clips. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

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Location Feature, sand dunes, Japan,

Exploring Japan’s Biggest Sand Dunes

To view more photos and videos from the dunes, explore the Tottori Sand Dunes location page.

Huge sand hills, strong winds and camelback rides—these aren’t exactly the scenes you’d expect to find in Japan. Yet at the Tottori Sand Dunes in Tottori, Japan, that’s exactly what you can expect to find. Located in the southwestern region of Honshū Island and neighboring the Sea of Japan, these sand dunes are the only of their kind in the country. Covering an area of 30 square kilometers (7,413 acres), the dunes developed over thousands of years as volcanic sediments from nearby mountains were carried out into the Sea of Japan through the Sendai River. Strong ocean winds brought the sand back ashore to create the dunes. The desert-like environment, along with a herd of imported camels, provide an extraordinary view for locals and visiting Instagrammers alike.

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user feature, Global Instagrammers, Iran, Spain, United States,

Global Instagrammers: From Tehran to San Sebastián, New York and Beyond

Through Instagram, it’s possible to visit every corner of the world. In our Global Instagrammers series, we travel the world by asking people to share their favorite Instagrammers from another country.

Neda Monem (@nedamonem) – Tehran, Iran

"I love that people have the chance to notice the beauties around them that often tend to go unnoticed," says Neda Monem (@nedamonem), an English teacher and musician living in Tehran, Iran. “Over time Instagram has inspired me to better my photographic vision and to document more of what I experience in life.”

Neda says she also loves “that you can experience the world through the eyes of real people.” This includes her own images, which she feels offer a more nuanced look at life in a place many have never visited.

Neda’s favorite Instagrammer outside Iran is Spanish food photographer Aiala Hernando (@aialahernando). “I like following people with a unique style,” she explains, “especially if their feeds make me hungry.”

Aiala Hernando (@aialahernando) – San Sebastián, Spain

Aiala is a food stylist and photographer in San Sebastián, Spain, whose work takes her all across the world. “Instagram started as a hobby for me, and it has become one of the most powerful ways of connecting with amazing people, both personally and professionally,” she says.

Aiala recommends April Flores (@aprilflores). “April makes me feel emotions with her photos. I feel like each of her pictures has a beautiful story behind it.”

April German Flores (@aprilflores) – Brooklyn, New York

"In college I studied chemistry and I dream of someday becoming a botanist in Costa Rica or somewhere with an ocean and big beautiful mountains," says April, a Brooklyn-based prop stylist and founder of home goods collection Native Kind (@native_kind).

April offered documentary photographer Brian Nyongesa (@briannyongesa) as her favorite Instagrammer abroad. “When I look at his photos I feel as if I was there experiencing those moments as well. He captures people in their natural essence so beautifully.”

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twoi, the week on instagram,

The Week on Instagram | 123

News

Get Involved

  • Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHP3x5. View photos from the last project, #WHPdancers.

Around the Community

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world water day, current events,

World Water Day 2014 on Instagram

For more photos and videos from World Water Day around the world, browse the #waterday and #worldwaterday hashtags.

Around the world, 1.2 billion people—nearly a fifth of the planet—lack access to clean water. To call attention to the plight, the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. Here are just a few of the many people and organizations on Instagram working to raise awareness about water issues around the globe:

  • water.org (@water) - Working with hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia and Central America to provide access to safe water and sanitation. Collaborating with Benjamin Heath (@benjaminheath), Steph Goralnick (@sgoralnick) and Simone Bramante (@brahmino) to share scenes from Kenya on Instagram.
  • Balazs Gardi (@balazsgardi) - Photojournalist who has spent the past decade documenting the effects of the unfolding global water crisis.
  • charity: water (@charitywater) - A non-profit organization on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet. Currently working with Vik Muniz (@vikmuniz) and Students Rebuild (@studentsrebuild) to bring clean water to over 16,000 people in Tanzania.
  • Corey Arnold (@arni_coraldo) - Photographer and fisherman documenting glaciers for Project Pressure (@projectpressure) to create the world’s first interactive glacier archive in order to better understand climate change.
  • Hurley H2O (@hurley_h2o) - Hurley’s water initiative striving alongside Waves for Water (@wavesforwater) to provide clean water for everyone.
  • WaterAid (@wateraid) - Bringing water, sanitation and hygiene education to where it is needed most for over 30 years.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium (@montereybayaquarium) - California aquarium with a mission to inspire conservation of the oceans.

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User Feature, beard,

Creating Smiles with @willitbeard

For more photos and videos of Pierce’s beard, follow @willitbeard on Instagram.

Instagrammers across the world have been experimenting with using their hair as a home for a variety of inventive looks. US Instagrammer Pierce Thiot (@willitbeard) and his wife Stacy (@stacythiot) embarked on their creative beard collaboration after a family talent show. Pierce explains, “Stacy and I were in Dallas over the Christmas season and we were spending time with my parents. My mom had asked all the grandkids to do a talent show and it was adorable! I decided to try and get a laugh by sticking as many pencils in my beard as possible. A pair of scissors ended up in there, too! After that, I just thought it’d be cool to see spaghetti noodles in there. Then Stacy and I started thinking about what else could ‘beard.’ It’s been a really fun project to work on together.”

Pierce and Stacy say they hope to put a smile on people’s faces with their account: “As long as someone laughs, or smiles, or it makes their day a little bit better, then it’s been a success. We don’t take this project too seriously. We just do it because it’s fun and we want to share some joy.”

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weekend hashtag project, WHP3x5,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHP3x5

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

The goal this weekend is to create a 15-second video made of three five-second clips. Some tips to get you started:

  • You can use your five-second clips to tell a story in three parts. As starting points, think about a sequence with a beginning, middle and ending, or experiment with filming the same subject in three different ways.
  • You can also get more abstract with this project. Create scenes that all explore the same theme or emotion in very different ways to convey a message or feeling. Don’t be afraid to leave narrative behind.
  • Don’t forget to pay attention to the sounds around you as you film. Your audio will be a key part of telling your story.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHP3x5 hashtag to videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own videos to the project. Any video taken then tagged over the weekend is eligible to be featured right here Monday morning!