Predicted dates for first and full bloom for cities across Japan.

Japan’s cherry blossoms are captivatingly beautiful and culturally significant. Oh, and they’re also extremely fickle.

While the sakura always bloom in spring, the exact timing tends to shift slightly from year to year. Even worse, the flowers are short-lived, losing their petals within about two weeks of their first opening.

Thankfully, Japanese meteorological organization Weathernews puts out a detailed region-by-region forecast, and revises it repeatedly as we get closer to the sakura’s arrival. They’ve just put out their latest update, and Tokyo’s blossoming date has been shifted back one day from the previous prediction, with cherry blossoms now expected to begin opening in the capital on March 19. That’s still earlier than usual, but five days slower than last year’s extremely early blossoming.

▼ Predicted dates for the start of cherry blossom blooming. Clockwise from Tokyo (東京) in the lower right, the listed cities are Nagoya, Osaka, Kochi, Kagoshima, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Nagano, Niigata, Akita, Sapporo, Kushiro, Aomori, and Sendai.

However, even more important than when the sakura will begin to blossom is when they’ll reach full bloom, because if you’re planning an excursion to go see them that’s when you’ll want to schedule it. For Tokyo, full bloom is forecast for March 28, conveniently a Sunday.

● Predicted sakura opening/full-bloom dates
Akita: April 14/April 18
Aomori: April 17/April 21
Fukuoka: March 21/April 1
Hiroshima: March 23/April 2
Kagoshima: March 23/April 5
Kanazawa: March 29/April 3
Kobe: March 27/April 4

Kochi: March 21/ March 29
Kumamoto: March 22/March 31
Kushiro: Mat 9/May 12
Kyoto: March 24/April 1
Matsuyama: March 23/April 4
Nagano: April 5/April 11
Nagoya: March 22/April 1

Nara: March 27/April 3
Niigata: April 2/April 6
Osaka: March 24/April 1
Sapporo: April 23/April 27
Sendai: April 1/April 7
Tokyo: March 19/March 28
Yokohama: March 21/March 31

While Japan has multiple types of cherry blossoms, the dates listed are for those of the somei yoshino trees, the most prevalent variety and also most renowned for their abundant petals.

Oh, and if you want to get a head start on the sakura fun, this year’s batch of cherry blossom desserts are already showing up.

Source: Weathernews via Livedoor News via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Weathernews, Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)
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