Cherry Blossom Season Kicks Off with Blooming Kōchi “Sakura” (Japan in Photos)

The Japan Meteorological Agency on March 15 recognized a somei-yoshino cherry in Kōchi Prefecture as the first hyōhonboku, or sample tree, in the country to begin blooming, signaling the start of the much-awaited blossom viewing season. The agency said warm weather coaxed the buds out earlier than expected and has bumped up sakura predictions for other areas of Japan. (© Jiji)

sakura Cherry Blossoms hanami Kōchi Prefecture