Cherry Blossoms in Japan – Can You Rely on the Forecast?
Luckily for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, hungry tourists, these beautiful flowers don’t all appear at the same time in every part of Japan.
Every year, the Japan Meteorological Corporation predicts when the best times will be to view the flowers in each part of Japan. Trees in the southern reaches of Japan flower first, and the blooming moves north as the warm weather moves north.
The flower buds of cherry trees develop in the summer of the preceding year. Before they can flower, they enter a period of dormancy and a period of growth.
It’s not just tourists who love to see the enchanting pink and white petals of the various trees. Cherry blossom viewing is one of the most exciting activities of the year for local Japanese as well.
Tourists should not plan a very strict schedule because the cherry blossoms come out for viewing on their own schedule, depending on weather conditions from the previous fall, low temperatures during winter, and more. And their appearance lasts for only a small number of days during March and April.
Tokyo is expected to see an early bloom this year. Tokyo’s forecasted flowering date is 22 March according to one forecast and 26 March according to another. That’s when the flowers are expected to open, with the full bloom expected on 30 March or early April, depending on who you believe.
The forecast by the Japan Meteorological Corporation is meant to help people estimate when the best time would be to visit different areas of Japan in order to see cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Remember, though, weather forecasters are notorious for their wrong predictions. In fact, the two forecasts I found when writing this article had dates that were four days apart.
But if your schedule is flexible and if you miss the blossoms in one area, you can pack your bags and rush off to a different area further north. One way or another, you should be able to see the cherry blossoms if you’re adaptable.