As I sit here writing this, it’s been a solid four days since I’ve seen a patch of blue sky. That’s hard enough on someone who grew up in sun-drenched southern California, but what makes it worse is that right now the cherry blossoms are blooming across Japan, and the week-long forecast of cold and precipitation isn’t what many were hoping for as they made plans to head out and admire the short-lived flowers.

But while sakura in the sun are always preferable to sakura in the rain, once the temperature dips down low enough, the flowers become captivating in a whole new way, as shown in these beautiful photos of cherry blossoms in the snow.

The cherry blossoms are Japan’s most iconic symbol of spring, and by the time their buds open the country is warm enough that most people have already put away their winter coats. A sudden cold snap is making Japan unseasonably cold this week, though, with some regions experiencing the oddity of snow in April.

While a strong breeze will cause Japan’s flowering cherry trees to release a steady stream of flittering petals, the photo above doesn’t show the phenomenon known as sakura no jutan, or “a carpet of cherry blossoms.” Instead, that’s a blanket of snow covering the ground in a grove of sakura trees.

But while they’re rare, snow-covered cherry blossoms aren’t entirely unheard of. There’s even a name for the combination, yukizakura, and apparently it’s common enough in Nagano that Twitter user Sakuranitohei claims it’s one of the things the prefecture is known for.

▼ He also adds that “the people having cherry blossom-viewing parties are freezing to death.”

▼ More yukizakura from Nagano

Like Nagano, Tochigi Prefecture too is land-locked and mountainous, making its capital city Utsunomiya chilly enough for some yukizakura of its own.

And while there’s no doubt many people in Japan would have preferred a bit more sunshine for their sakura festivities, some, like Twitter user roku_az, were happy to get the chance to see yukizakura for the first time.

So basically, regardless of the weather conditions, sakura are always awesome.

Source: Hamster Sokuho
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: Twitter (1, 2, 3)