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Japan's cherry blossom season may arrive early this year

News Desk

The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Tokyo | Thu, February 8, 2018 | 05:02 pm
Japan's cherry blossom season may arrive early this year

Here, picnickers enjoy cherry trees in blossom at Shinjyuku Gyoen in Tokyo on April 4, 2017. (Bloomberg/Shiho Fukada)

Tokyo and many parts of the country should prepare for an early arrival of the cherry blossom season, according to a forecast by Japan Meteorological Corp (JMC).

The Osaka-based weather forecasting company says the flowers may start blooming in the Japanese capital, as well as Kochi and Kagoshima prefectures, on March 20, up to six days earlier than usual.

The flowering date in an average year is March 26, according to the company's website.

This year, the nation's iconic sakura flowers is expected to reach full bloom on March 28.

The flowers only bloom for around a week before they fall off the trees, creating the so-called "sakura snow" effect .

The forecast by JMC covers about 1,000 locations across the country ranging from Kyushu in the south to Hokkaido in the north, reported Japan Times.

Elsewhere, the cherry blossoms are expected to arrive on March 21 in Fukuoka, March 22 in Nagoya, March 26 in Osaka, March 27 in Kyoto and April 10 in Sendai.

Read also: How to shoot the cherry blossoms: Tips from a photographer

In northern parts of the country, the flowers are expected to start blooming at around the same time as in an average year, with residents of Hokkaido expected to see their first blooms around May 3.

The forecasts, which are subject to updates, are based on data derived from studying the blooming characteristics of the someiyoshino tree, or Yoshino cherry tree, the most common type of sakura tree, with its pale pink flowers.

The forecasting firm has concluded that in many areas, the flowers entered the growth stage in the end of January.

The first blossoms generally appear in southern Okinawa as early as January and slowly move up the archipelago, passing through Japan's central islands (including Kyoto and Tokyo) in late March and early April, before progressing further north and hitting Hokkaido in early May.

Records of the comings and goings of cherry blossoms have been kept for centuries with those from the ancient capital of Kyoto dating back 1,200 years. The records have shown that the blossoms have emerged much sooner than they once did in recent decades.

Read also: Tokyo experiences coldest day in 48 years

From its most recent peak in 1829, when full bloom could be expected to come on April 18, the typical full-flowering date has drifted earlier and earlier, reported The Economist.

Since 1970, the cherry blossom season has usually arrived in sometime around April 7.

Last year ( 2017 ), the cherry blossoms officially began blooming in Tokyo on March 21, according to the Meteorological Agency.

The forecast by JMC covers about 1,000 locations across the country ranging from Kyushu in the south to Hokkaido in the north, reported Japan Times.

Elsewhere, the cherry blossoms are expected to arrive on March 21 in Fukuoka, March 22 in Nagoya, March 26 in Osaka, March 27 in Kyoto and April 10 in Sendai.

In northern parts of the country, the flowers are expected to start blooming at around the same time as last year, with residents of Hokkaido having to wait until around May 3 to begin cherry blossom viewing.

This article appeared on The Straits Times newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post
 
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