Cherry blossom season in Japan may arrive sooner this year

The company predicted Mar 20 to be the first day the cherry blossoms start flowering in Tokyo. Source: Shutterstock

JAPAN’S cherry blossom season is slated to arrive sooner than expected this year, the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) said.

Last Thursday, the weather forecasting company released its prediction of the nation’s iconic trees would begin blooming and reach full bloom, according to Channel News Asia.

The company predicted March 20 to be the first day the cherry blossoms start flowering in Tokyo, which is nearly a week earlier than usual. The flowers are expected to reach full bloom eight days later.

Other prefectures like Kochi and Kagoshima could expect the flowers to bloom on the same day, while the spectacle is tipped to start on March 21 in Fukuoka, March 22 in Nagoya and Nagasaki, March 26 in Osaka, March 27 in Kyoto and April 10 in Sendai.

A woman takes a selfie against the bloom. Source: Reuters

Residents in the Hokkaido and Kinki region, however, can expect the cherry blossoms to bloom around the same time as last year.

The company, which provides the forecast for over 1,000 cherry blossom viewing locations nationwide, said the dates of the flowering and full bloom are dependent on the temperature patterns from the previous year’s autumn.

“JMC estimates the flowering and full bloom dates for each area based on low temperatures during autumn and winter, cherry tree growth status, cumulative temperatures, and past data for each area,” the company was quoted as saying.

According to the Straits Times, the first blossoms generally appear in southern Okinawa as early as January. The season slowly moves up the archipelago, passing through Japan’s central islands, including Kyoto and Tokyo, in late March and early April, and from then on progresses north and touching Hokkaido in early May.

For centuries, the comings and goings of cherry blossoms have been recorded, with some dating as far back as 1,200 years in the ancient capital of Kyoto.