Japan's stunning cherry blossoms are set to bloom early this year
Japan's beautiful cherry blossoms are always a huge attraction when they bloom in spring, but the country’s nationally-revered pink blossoms - known as sakura - are expected to appear a bit earlier than usual this year in various locations.
The timing of their appearance depends on the weather conditions leading up to spring, as the flowering and full bloom dates of cherry blossoms results from the temperature patterns from autumn of the preceding year. The Japan Meteorological Corporation has updated its cherry blossom forecast for 2021, in which it estimates the flowering and full bloom dates for Somei Yoshino trees in approximately 1000 viewing locations.
It predicts that cherry blossoms will start to flower (kaika) in Tokyo and Fukuoka on 15 March and reach full bloom (mankai) on 23 March in Tokyo and a day later for Fukuoka. Hiroshima and Nagoya will begin on the 16th and reach full bloom on the 26th, while Wakayama and Kyoto are predicted to bloom on 17 March, Kōchi on the 18th, Osaka on the 20th and Nagano on 31 March. The beautiful flowers will reach other Japanese locations at a later date, including Aomori on 21 April and Sapporo on 2 May.
The leaves on the cherry blossom trees normally secrete hormones to prevent them flowering ahead of time, but adverse weather conditions can impact this process and make blooming occur earlier. Admiring the sakura is a beloved Japanese custom, and as they only last a week or two, cherry blossom forecasts help locals and visitors make the most of the nationwide spectacle. The Japan Meteorological Corporation's cherry blossom forecast can be found here.
With travel restrictions still in place in much of the world, seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan might not be possible for most this year. Luckily anyone can watch Washington DC's famous blossoms online with the BloomCam.