It’s that time of the year again! Meteorology companies across Japan, including the Japan Meteorological Agency, have begun releasing their first forecasts for the cherry blossoms of this year. Hanami viewing has always had a very special place in the hearts of the Japanese people while also proving to be extremely popular amongst tourists and foreign residents. This year is certainly no different, with many people tuning in to the currently developing cherry blossom forecast, and we also couldn’t help but jump on the train.
Being a seasonal flower, the cherry blossom trees will typically begin to bloom as the weather starts to warm up. This results in the blooming starting in the south and moving north, signifying the beginning of Spring for Japan along the way. Following this, the sakura trees continue to bloom, with full bloom typically occurring a week or two after the appearance of the first flowers. This year, following this trend, the first openings for most areas are set to begin in the last weeks of March, with full bloom happening in early April. Although due to the warmer-than-usual weather this year, some may start a bit earlier than we would normally expect!
Japan’s major cities are top picks for Hanami every year and this year should be no different, so we made sure to jot down the estimated dates for each city so you know what to expect. It looks like Tokyo will actually be one of the first cities to open this year, and it’s estimated to begin on March 23rd with full bloom set to follow 7 days later on March 30th. Similarly, Fukuoka is projected to match Tokyo’s full bloom date, but the estimated first flowering is predicted to arrive earlier on March 21st. Following this is Kagoshima, with the two major dates said to happen on March 22nd and April 3rd.
Kyoto, another major top spot for Hanami, is estimated to begin on March 23rd and is meant to reach full bloom 9 days later on April 1st. Osaka–The Nation’s Kitchen” mirrors Kyoto’s full-bloom date of April 1st but will open a bit later on March 25th. Nagoya, on the other hand, is one of the earliest of Japan’s major cities and will have its first flowers on March 21st, with full bloom following on March 31st, ten days after the flowers look to open.
As you can see, though there is some variety between some of the cities, Cherry Blossom Season in all of Japan’s biggest cities is estimated to begin around the same period this year. However, these cities are the top picks for those looking to celebrate and it can be easily predicted that they will draw in large crowds as they do every year. If this prospect is something that can be quite daunting to you, like it is for me, don’t worry, because we have you covered! Make sure to check out our post on some of the lesser-known areas you can visit around Tokyo and Kyoto for a much quieter cherry blossom experience this year.
With all this in mind, I hope you can now plan your Hanami experience for this year. Cherry Blossom Season can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone planning to visit Japan and it definitely shouldn’t be ignored even if you live in the country. So make sure to check out one of these fabulous viewing spots and maybe we’ll see you there!
We will add updates to this post if the forecast shifts! Happy Cherry Blossom daydreaming for your future travels!
If you are in Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka for Cherry Blossom season, make sure to book your guide to experience the REAL hanami like a local!
Featured image by Susann Schuster on Unsplash