Your guide to the start dates for hanami season at major sightseeing spots around the country.

Now that we’re past the 22 December winter solstice here in Japan, the days are gradually becoming longer, carrying us gently towards the warmer months of spring.

That means it won’t be long until cherry blossom season is upon us, and every year we await the forecast that lets us know when the nation’s somei yoshino trees, Japan’s most popular sakura variety, are expected to bloom.

Japanese weather site Weathernews was first with the forecast again this year, and according to their predictions, it’s going to be yet another early start to the season, not just in Tokyo but at all major locations around Japan.

So let’s get started by taking a look at this year’s forecast around the nation.

▼ Sakura flowering dates for 2022

According to the forecast above, we can expect the sakura season to begin in Japan on 15 March, with Tokyo and Hiroshima being the first places to enjoy the blooms. Flowering will continue around the country shortly afterwards, with the season predicted to be 5-10 days earlier than the average year recorded from 1991-2020.

We’ve listed all the dates for the regions on the map below:

  • Kagoshima: 23 March
  • Fukuoka: 16 March
  • Kochi: 21 March
  • Hiroshima: 15 March
  • Osaka: 22 March
  • Nagoya: 18 March
  • Kanazawa: 25 March
  • Tokyo: 18 March
  • Nagano: 1 April
  • Niigata: 1 April
  • Sendai: 31 March
  • Akita: 8 April
  • Aomori: 15 April
  • Sapporo: 23 April
  • Kushiro: 8 May

A lot of these regions are home to some famous hanami flower-viewing spots, so let’s take a look at the predicted start dates for these popular sightseeing locations.

The sites listed above are:

  • Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto Prefecture): 20 March
  • Maizaru Park (Fukuoka Prefecture): 16 March
  • Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima Prefecture): 21 March
  • Kochi Park (Kochi Prefecture): 21 March
  • Arashiyama (Kyoto Prefecture): 29 March
  • Tsuruma Park (Aichi Prefecture): 18 March
  • Sunpu Castle Park (Shizuoka Prefecture): 21 March
  • Takato Joshi Park (Nagano Prefecture): 29 March
  • Ueno Onshi Park (Tokyo Prefecture): 16 March
  • Shiraishi Riverbank Thousand Trees at a Glance (Miyagi Prefecture): 1 April
  • Hirosaki Park (Aomori Prefecture): 17 April
  • Goryokaku Park (Hokkaido Prefecture): 21 April

Most of these start dates are similar or slightly earlier to last year’s first forecast, which predicted the start of the season to occur in Tokyo on 18 March, although it ended up arriving much earlier than expected, on 14 March.

When the temperature from February to March is higher than normal, as it’s predicted to be this year, flowering tends to occur earlier than usual, so there’s a chance that this year’s blooms might also begin unfurling their petals earlier than expected.

Regardless of what happens, though, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the latest sakura news as the season progresses, so watch this space!

Source: Weathernews
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Weathernews
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