A rare event, particularly in the busy metropolis.

After months of cold weather, which brought the heaviest snowfall in four years to Tokyo back in January, the days finally began warming up in the capital last week, with sunny skies and temperatures reaching highs of 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

But just as we thought it was time to start putting away our winter wardrobe, we found ourselves digging around for our snowboots instead, as weather reports warned that a cold snap meant snowfall was predicted to fall across the city on 21 March, the first day of spring according to the Vernal Equinox.

While many couldn’t believe that snow would fall in Tokyo so late in the year, it ended up snowing just as predicted, falling steadily for a number of hours to create a thin layer of white ice that made it feel like winter all over again, only this time the landscape looked different, thanks to the springtime blossoms that had sprung up around the city.

Tokyo’s sakura season officially started on 17 March, after the first blossoms were seen on the sample tree at Yasukuni Shrine, which meant that people were able to see snow amongst the cherry blossoms; a rare treat for residents, particularly in the metropolis.

Seeing as it was a public holiday in Japan, many decided to brave the freezing temperatures to snap some photos of the snowy sakura, giving us a peek into what it looked like in different areas around town.

At Sakura Shrine in Setagaya Ward, an early blooming variety of cherry blossom was weighed down by the snowfall.

The bright pink blossoms of early blooming sakura, like this one just south of Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture, created a beautiful contrast to the large white snowflakes.

Videos of the snowfall have been particularly beautiful. Scroll through the photos below for a clip taken at Inokashira Park near the Ghibli Museum.

This video makes it look as if the cherry blossom petals are falling from the trees.

One of the most popular destinations to see the sakura is Meguro River, which is lined with cherry blossom trees and pink lanterns to help create a festival-like atmosphere. Today, the snow made the area look even more atmospheric.

Ice on the petals of the Somei Yoshino sakura, Japan’s most popular variety, show the new blooms bracing themselves against the unseasonally cold weather.

This video from Kanda River shows that some trees around Tokyo are already well on their way to reaching full bloom.

The flurries of snow falling gently around the trees make many of the photos look like beautiful paintings.

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Although many of the sakura trees are still filled with buds and yet to reach their peak beauty at full blossom, today’s snowy display gave us another insight into the glorious appeal of Japan’s iconic flower.

With tomorrow’s temperature set to rise to 17 degrees Celsius, the warmer weather will be encouraging the sakura to show off their blossoms in all their glory by this weekend, which gives us just enough time to stock up on sakura treats for our hanami picnic!

Featured image: Instagram/mitsuru_b