Updated Cherry Blossom Forecast Predicts Japan’s Beloved “Sakura” Will Flower Early

Lifestyle Guide to Japan

As spring approaches, the Japan Meteorological Corporation on February 21 released its updated national cherry blossom forecast, much to the joy of sakura fans around Japan.

The Osaka-based firm predicts that the cherry blossom season will kick off first in Kōchi Prefecture, with buds expected to begin opening on March 17, followed by Fukuoka Prefecture on March 18. Residents of Tokyo and Nagoya should plan to start holding blossom-viewing parties from March 21, denizens of Kyoto from March 23, and Osakans from March 25.

Spring will arrive later in cooler regions. Blossoms are anticipated to open around March 30 in Kanazawa, April 6 in Sendai, April 8 in Nagano, April 23 in Aomori, and May 3 in Sapporo.

The meteorological company makes its predictions based on somei-yoshino cherry trees—Japan’s most common variety of flowering cherry—at some 1,000 viewing spots around the country, utilizing a complex formula that considers factors like temperatures during dormancy and growth periods.

According to the forecast, warmer-than-average temperatures across the country since December have hastened the blossoming season by several days in some areas.

Prime viewing, when trees are in full bloom, will likely stretch through the end of March in most of western and eastern Japan, extend to mid-April in the Tōhoku region, and last into early May in Hokkaidō.

Weather patterns can alter the outlook, though, and the Japan Meteorological Corporation says it will regularly update its forecast to reflect the latest data.

(Originally written in English. Banner photo: Cherries bloom in Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo.)

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