If you’re planning on visiting Japan in Spring, you’re probably looking forward to enjoying the beautiful and subtly fragrant blossoms of the cherry trees, or sakura, as they’re called in Japanese.
Since so many people count on the sakura for their Spring activities, knowing the best times to view them has become somewhat of a science. In fact, every year, the Japan Meteorological Corporation publishes forecasts on when the sakura will begin to bloom and when they are likely to be in full bloom, with the weekend most closely coinciding with that date considered to be the ideal moment for hanami 花見 (literally, “flower viewing), the practice of picnicking beneath the cherry blossoms.
Let’s take a look at this year’s forecast, based on observations make of 1,000 Somei Yoshino Cherry Trees in key locations throughout the country:
As you can see in the “difference from last year” columns in the chart below, the sakura trees will begin to bloom considerably earlier than they did in 2018. This difference is particularly pronounced in Tokyo, for example, where the season is expected to begin almost a week earlier.
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