Time to start making those hanami flower-viewing plans!

Despite the distinct chill in the air, and masses of snow covering some of Japan’s coldest areas, spring is actually just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start making plans for the sakura cherry blossom season.

Helping out in that regard is Japanese weather forecasting company Weathernews, who just released its first cherry blossom forecast for 2021. And according to their predictions, it’s going to be another warm start to the season, meaning the sakura will be unfurling their petals earlier than usual in Tokyo this year.

This image released by Weathernews shows the predicted starting date for the blossoming of the nation’s somei yoshino trees, Japan’s most popular sakura variety, in capital cities famous for their blooms.

▼ Dates for surrounding areas are listed according to colour in the box on the left

The capital cities and predicted start dates above are:

  • Kagoshima: 23 March
  • Fukuoka: 20 March
  • Kochi: 20 March
  • Hiroshima: 23 March
  • Osaka: 24 March
  • Nagoya: 21 March
  • Kanazawa: 29 March
  • Tokyo: 18 March
  • Nagano: 5 April
  • Niigata: 2 April
  • Sendai: 1 April
  • Akita: 14 April
  • Aomori: 17 April
  • Sapporo: 23 April
  • Kushiro: 9 May

Once the sakura start blooming, it’s often a mad dash to see them before they disappear, as the delicate flowers only blossom for a week or so. For those heading out to some of the country’s most famous hanami flower-viewing spots, the stating dates may differ slightly, depending on their proximity to the capital, so these dates will be helpful:

The sites listed above are:

  • Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto Prefecture): 22 March
  • Maizaru Park (Fukuoka Prefecture): 20 March
  • Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima Prefecture): 24 March
  • Kochi Park (Kochi Prefecture): 20 March
  • Arashiyama (Kyoto Prefecture): 1 April
  • Tsuruma Park (Aichi Prefecture): 22 March
  • Sunpu Castle Park (Shizuoka Prefecture): 23 March
  • Takato Joshi Park (Nagano Prefecture: 1 April
  • Ueno Onshi Park (Tokyo Prefecture): 19 March
  • Shiraishi Riverbank Thousand Trees at a Glance (Miyagi Prefecture): 2 April
  • Hirosaki Park (Aomori Prefecture): 18 April
  • Goryokaku Park (Hokkaido Prefecture): 22 April

Most of these predicted start dates are similar, or slightly earlier to last year’s initial forecast, which predicted the blossoming period in Tokyo, for example, to kick off on 19 March, a week earlier than average. The blossoms actually appeared slightly earlier than that, though, on 14 March, so we’ll have to wait and see how this year’s initial predictions fare as the season progresses.

As always, we’ll keep you updated with all the latest sakura news as it happens, so watch this space!

Source: Weathernews
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Weathernews
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