Cherry blossoms in Japan – Follow the cherry blossom report!
Nothing says “SPRING!” in Japan like cherry blossom season.
And to know when the blossoms are expected to come to their area, Japanese follow the “cherry blossom report” much as they would the weather report.
In general, the blooming of cherry blossoms (“Sakura” in Japanese) follows the warmer weather as it slowly stretches up the length of the island chain.
The cherry blossoms came early this year. In fact, the peak of the blossoms came last weekend in Tokyo – about 10 days earlier than usual.
I really love this map of Japan that comes out every year and shows the blooming dates for different parts of the country:
Tokyo (東京) – written on the bottom right – is shown to have started blooming on 3/16 and Osaka (大阪) – written in the middle on the left is shown to have started blooming on 3/21. As can be seen by the report, by 3/31, all of western and southern Japan will have bloomed.
Moving north, Niigata (新潟) and Sendai (仙台) won’t start to bloom until 4/8. The northern reaches of the main island of Honshu will start blooming by about 5/25 and most of the northern island of Hokkaido won’t start to bloom until well until the month of May!
It is also really important to know the extent of the blooming in a certain place. Take a look at this handy timeline of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo:
It shows here that the sakura started to bloom on 3/16 and hit full bloom (“mankai”) on 3/22, staying around 100% for around 3 days or so. Unfortunately today (3/28) we’re down to about 80% and in another day, we will be in the “green zone” where the green of the new leaves outweighs the pink of the blossoms.
Oh well, we still have another weekend in Tokyo to enjoy “Hanami” and have a drink (or many) to celebrate the blossoms. More on that later…