And as we say goodbye to February, yet another round of the Cherry Blossom forecast has been released! It seems that the predicted dates for the initial blooming (called 開花kaika) and the full bloom (満開 mankai) keep getting earlier and earlier. With the initial release, it was expected that the blooms would first appear in Tokyo March 18th, but the latest update from the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) sites it as early as March 15th. Looks like all the warm weather this winter will really bring the buds out much earlier than expected. For the initial bloom dates of major cities across Japan, take a look!
And to check out the average full bloom dates for the major cities shown above in addition to the yearly averages, check out the chart below!
Usually, the cherry blossom season is one of the major peaks for tourism in Japan. This year, with the worries over Coronavirus, and the warnings from the government to not gather in crowded public spaces, or in private, with large numbers of other people, there might be a few less cherry blossom viewing parties (花見 hanami) than the average year. For those whose trips have been postponed, if you coming to Japan in late April or early May, a trip up north to Aomori or Hokkaido will still give you the opportunity to see the blossoms.
For everyone else, we encourage visitors and residents to still enjoy the beautiful blooms, just with caution. Admiring the tree outside your window, or going for a walk in a park (with a mask!) in the early morning or late evening is a good way to still enjoy the beauty of the sakura without exposing yourself to the crowds.