First I wanted to share that in Japanese, Cherry blossoms are called Sakura, and it is also the Floral emblem of Japan, so it has long be something important and special to the people in Japan. That is why you can find so many cherry blossom trees all around Japan and the Hanami (花見), meaning flower viewing in Japanese, has been a traditional custom for the Japanese people. Because hanami of sakura is an important event, there are several organizations that make offical annoucements of cherry blossom forcasts for people to plan for their outings.
Table of Contents
- Let’s talk about Japan’s Cherry blossom front
- Ways to forecast the blooming days
- When Cherry blossom starts blooming & When fully bloomed
- Newest Cherry Blossom Forecast Map in Japan
- Newest Cherry Blossom Forecast Information for Main Cities
- Cherry Blossom Forecast for Japan’s 3 Biggest Cherry Blossom Trees
What is Cherry blossom front?
Because Japan is vertically shaped, so the cherry blossoms start blooming from the South of Japan to the North. Since the south side of Japan gets warmer sooner so a “horizontal line” of cherry blossom’s blooming naturally appears and it gradually moves from the South to the North, and that line is called Cherry Blossom front (桜前線, Sakura Zensen).
Other than Okinawa, Japan’s cherry blossom season is usually around March to May. The time of blossoming would change depending on each year’s weather, and it may vary quite a lot as well, so you do need lots of luck to see the fully bloomed chery blossoms when traveling.
But! In order for you to increase your chance to see the beautiful cherry blossom, let us share with you the official annoucements of cherry blossom forecasts in Japan!
In Japan, the cherry blossom forecast of blooming days and fully bloomed days are made from a specific type of cherry blossom: Somei Yoshino (ソメイヨシノ), often time called Yoshino cherry in English.
Why Somei Yoshino?
It is because this type of cherry blossom trees are planted everywhere in Japan and it is the most popular type of cherry blossom.
After Meiji era, this type of cherry blossom trees became very popular among people in Japan, so they started planting it on the side of the roads, next to rivers, or at parks as well. Schools in Japan often plant Somei Yoshino trees near its main entrances so when new students start their new school in April, they will be welcomed by fully bloomed cherry blossoms.
The other feature of this type of cherry blossom is that it starts blossoming even if its still a small tree, you do not have to wait till it become a big tree to see the beautiful flowers. That is another reason why it became popular after the second world war and was planted in numerous places in Japan. So now Somei Yoshino has become the most viewed cherry blossom in Japan.
Since it is the type of cherry blossoms that is most seen, it was chosen to become the type of cherry blossom used to forecast the blooming days.
Also, the cherry blossom that Japan have given to other countries are mainly Somei Yoshino, such as the beautiful ones you could find in Washington D.C.
Do remember when you see the forecasts annouced in Japan, the cherry blossoms are based on Somei Yoshino, and other types of cherry blossom tree’s blooming time and length would be different.
When you decide to visit Japan for its Cherry blossoms, do remember to look up which type of cherry blossom trees are famous in the area you are planning to visit, for example the Kawazuzakura (河津桜) in Izu area bloom in different times than Somei Yoshino. So~remember to do some research ahead of time!
After cherry blossom starts blooming, it usually would be fully bloomed in 5 to 7 days, but it also depends on the weather each year. The lower the temperature is, the longer it would take for the trees to become fully bloomed.
Once they are fully bloomed they will start falling and it is beautiful to see pink petals scattering around, but it also means that cherry blossoms’ flowers do not last very long…
Of course, there are some type of cherry blossoms that would stay bloomed for longer, so even if you do not get to see the Somei Yoshino, you may still have chances to see other ones!
- Sendai (仙台) 4/7
- Tokyo (東京) 3/21
- Nagoya (名古屋) 3/28
- Fukuoka (福岡) 3/25
- Osaka (大阪) 3/30
- Niigata (新潟) 4/8
- Sapporo (札幌) 4/29
This winter was quite warm in Japan, so the blooming dates are later than normal years, especially in the West part of Japan. Also since it became much colder than usual after February, it has affected the blooming of the cherry blossoms. So this year if you want to see the flowers in Kyoto and Osaka, you would have to visit in a later time comparing to usual years.
This year, not only the West Japan, but also Southern Japan, Kyushu, has a later blooming date.
As of East Japan, including Tokyo, the blooming dates are not very different from the usual years.
And in Hokkaido, Northern Japan, the blooming dates are as usual, or maybe even a bit early.
There are 3 main organizations in Japan which is in charged to make official announcements for cherry blossom forecasts. That is why the dates we are providing are slightly different; you can find the information of the sources below each table / graph.
|Location||Starts blooming||Fully bloomed|
|Tokyo||March 21st||April 2nd|
|Yokohama||March 25th||April 6th|
|Kyoto||March 31st||April 8th|
|Osaka||March 30th||April 7th|
|Hiroshima||March 27th||April 5th|
|Fukuoka||March 25th||April 6th|
|Sapporo||May 1st||May 5th|
For more details about other cities, please go here.
Japan’s 3 biggest Cherry Blossom Trees are Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima, Yamataka Zindaizakura in Yamanashi, and Neodani Usuzumizakura in Gifu. [The links are in Japanese but you would be able to see some photos of these amazing cherry blossom trees]
Many people would go visit these places just to get a chance to see these big cherry blossom trees!
The forecast for these cherry blossom trees are as following:
|Japan’s 3 biggest Cherry Blossom Trees||Starts blooming||Fully bloomed|
|Fukushima -Miharu Takizakura||April 14th||April 18th|
|Yamanashi – Yamataka Zindaizakura||April 4th||April 8th|
|Gifu – Neodani Usuzumizakura||April 4th||April 11th|
- Featured Image: TabiScarp