Cherry blossoms are one of Japan’s most famous attractions of spring and can be seen all over the country – from the northern tip to the southern islands, in the mountains and by the water, among the busy skyscrapers and in the peaceful villages. The “front” known as Sakura Zensen appears above the south western seas in mid March and moves northwards over a span of roughly 2 months, reaching the northernmost regions of the country in early May. Sakura Spectacles invites visitors to explore the Japanese spring beauty by introducing basic facts, famous viewing spots and related events.
The earliest cherry blossoms bloom in late January in the Okinawa islands. This is the Kanhizakura kind, and looks quite different from the ones seen in the mainland. In warmer regions other than Okinawa – such as Kyushu, Shikoku and the coastal areas of south-western Japan – cherry blossoms generally start blooming in mid to late March and reach full bloom in early April. Inland regions and coastal regions facing Sea of Japan see the blossoms about 10 days later, and southern area of Tohoku, in mid April. In late April to early May the “front” reaches northern Tohoku and Hokkaido. Except for Okinawa, Kochi and Shizuoka Prefectures are the first to have the blossoms.
Until a couple of years ago, the Japan Meteorological Agency officially made the blossoming forcast (Kaika Yoso) and gave the official “blossoming” announcement (Kaika Sengen), but today, several private businesses provide the blossoming forecast. In making the forecast, the term “blossoming” (Kaika) is defined as when about one to five or six blossoms bloom on one designated tree (Someiyoshino kind) blooms (definitions slightly differ by organization). “Full bloom” (Mankai) is when over 80% of the blossoms on a single tree blooms, and in the case of Kanto Region, it takes roughly one week to reach full bloom from the first blossoming.
For cherry blossom forecast in English, check the Japan National Tourism Organization website .