Cherry blossom season has officially arrived in Japan!

Temperatures rose above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tokyo today, making it the warmest day of the year so far. And as everyone began wondering what effect the warm weather would have on this year’s sakura season, media outlets reported that Japan’s “sakura zensen(“cherry blossom front”) had officially begun.

The cherry blossom front shows the advance of the sakura from Kyushu in the south up to Hokkaido in the north, and is monitored by the Japan Meteorological Agency with designated hyoujun-ki (“sample trees“). There are 59 sample trees covering all of Japan’s 47 prefectures, each one located in an ideal position that doesn’t receive too much light or shade, and the sample trees from Kyushu to Hokkaido record the advance of the Somei Yoshino variety, the country’s predominant type of sakura.

▼ Okinawa’s humid climate means they enjoy hanami under the Kanhi-Zakura blossoms, rather than the Somei Yoshino.

While Okinawa’s early-blooming Kanhi-Zakura variety of sakura began blooming in late January, the pale pink Somei Yoshino variety that dominates Japan’s four main islands was yet to unfurl its petals…until today, when the meteorological agency reported that the Somei Yoshino sample tree in Nagasaki, on the island of Kyushu, was showing five blossoms at 10 a.m. this morning.

The Japan Meteorological Agency officially declares the start of sakura season in an area once five to six cherry blossoms have opened on the hyoujun-ki, making Nagasaki the first area to welcome the Somei Yoshino this year. This year’s 20 March appearance comes four days earlier than the average and three days later than last year, and this is the first time for Nagasaki to take first spot on the cherry blossom front in 41 years.

Reports of the blossoms in Nagasaki sent news crews scrambling to other sample trees around the country, and in Tokyo, people crowded around the city’s official hyoujun-ki, located on the grounds of Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.

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靖国神社。東京都千代田区。 Yasukuni-Jinja Shrine.Chiyoda ward, Tokyo 야스쿠니 신사.도쿄도 치요다구. 現在の靖国神社の様子。 この桜が東京都の桜の開花の基準となります。 開花宣言まで後少し。 I am at Yasukuni Jinja Shrine now. This cherry blossom is the standard of the flowering of cherry blossoms in Tokyo. A little later until the declaration of the blooming of the cherry blossoms. 현재 야스쿠니 신사의 모습. 이 벚꽃이 도쿄의 벚꽃 개화의 기준이됩니다.벚꽃의 개화 선언까지 좀 더. #靖国神社#ソメイヨシノ#桜#東京 #yasukuni#yasukunishrine #japantrip#tokyotrip #cherryblossom #tokyocherryblossom #japanesecherryblossom #sakura#someiyoshino#hanami #japan#nippon#tokyo#japan_of_insta #일본여행#도쿄여행#도쿄 #일본벚꽃#벚꽃축제#도쿄벚꽃#벚꽃#야스쿠니신사

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Here, one cherry blossom had opened in the morning, and by the afternoon, two more had blossomed, bringing the total of flowers on the tree to three.

While this is two short of the total needed to declare the start of Tokyo’s hanami season, reports predict that more flowers will open tomorrow, making 21 March the first day of hanami season in the capital.

This is just one day ahead of the first predicted forecast in January, which also predicted that Shikoku would be the first place for the Somei Yoshino to bloom in the country.

Source: Biglobe News
Featured image: Pakutaso
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