Lonely Planet Writer

The first Japanese cherry blossom forecast of 2017 has been released

The Japan Meteorological Corporation has released the first part of its annual cherry blossom forecast for 2017, predicting when will be the best times to view the flowers in different parts of the country this year.

Cherry Blossom 2017
Chureito Pagoda near Fujiyoshida City with Sakura and Mt. Fuji in the background.

Hanami, or ‘cherry blossom viewing’, is one of the most anticipated activities of the year in Japan, occurring every spring when the trees come into bloom. Locals and tourists alike flock to a range of different locations around the country to appreciate the vibrant pink and white petals of a wide variety of trees, including the Sakura, the most well-known. However, the natural wonder only lasts for a handful of days between March and April, which makes timing essential for anyone hoping to catch the bloom at its best.

Cherry Blossom 2017
Himeji Castle with beautiful cherry blossom in spring season.

According to the report, this year will see Tokyo experiencing an early bloom, with a forecasted flowering date of 22 March and an expected full bloom date of  30 March. Osaka is expected to see flowering beginning on  28 March, with a bloom of 4 April while the trees in the Hokkaido prefecture will have a full blossom expected for May.

Japan Cherry Blossom
The viewing of cherry blossoms is one of the most anticipated events in the Japanese calendar.

The flower buds of cherry trees are formed during the summer of the preceding year. Before they start to flower, they must enter a period of dormancy and enter a period of growth. The flowering meter provides a quantitative measure of cherry trees’ current progress toward flowering, allowing for a better estimation on the best time to take part in Hanami. Popular spots for cherry blossom viewing include Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Park in Tokyo, Sankeien Garden in Yokohama, Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto and Fukuoka Castle in Fukuoka. The full cherry blossom forecast can be viewed here.

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