Cherry Blossom in Japan


The cherry blossom (sakura) has been celebrated in Japan for many centuries and holds a very particular place in Japanese culture. Although there are many varieties of cherry trees in Japan, most bloom for just a couple of days in spring. The Japanese celebrate this time of the year with Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties: friends, family or work colleagues gather and sit on plastic mats under the blossoming trees, to drink, sing, chat or just admire the spectacle.

The most important factor in determining the blooming time of cherry trees is the geographical location. The milder the climate, the earlier the blossoms open, so the blossom-time sweeps up the country from south to north.

On Japan’s southern, subtropical islands of Okinawa, cherry blossoms open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, the flowering can be as late as May. In most major cities in between, such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the cherry blossom season typically takes place in early April.

Furthermore, the blooming time of cherry trees differs from year to year depending on the weather. If the weather during the months and weeks preceding the cherry blossom season is mild, blossoms will open early. If it is cold, blossoms will open later. From year to year, the start of the blooming season can vary by as much as two weeks. The table below shows the average times (from north to south of the country).

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Credits to: JTB

Now take a look at the cherry blossom forecast for 2020. Please note that these dates are tentative and subject to change.

Place Estimated Average First Bloom Estimated Average Full Bloom
Okinawa Late January First Week of February
Kagoshima March 28, 2020 April 4 to 11, 2020
Kumamoto March 24, 2020 March 31 to April 8, 2020
Nagasaki March 22, 2020 April 1 to April 9, 2020
Fukouka March 21, 2020 March 29 to April 6, 2020
Matsuyama March 23, 2020 March 31 to April 8, 2020
Hiroshima March 23, 2020 March 29 to April 6, 2020
Okayama
Nagoya March 24, 2020 March 31 to April 8, 2020
Kyoto March 25, 2020 March 31 to April 8, 2020
Osaka March 25, 2020 March 31 to April 8, 2020
Shizuoka March 27, 2020 April 5 to April 13, 2020
Wakayama March 24, 2020 April 1 to April 10, 2020
Yokohama March 22, 2020 March 30 to April 7, 2020
Kanazawa March 29, 2020 April 2 to 10, 2020
Tokyo March 22, 2020 March 29 to April 6, 2020
Kochi March 21, 2020 March 30 to April 6, 2020
Nara March 25, 2020 March 31 to April 8, 2020
Yoshino
Matsumoto
Niigata April 5, 2020 April 10 to 18, 2020
Nagano April 9, 2020 April 14 to 23, 2020
Takayama
Fuji Five Lake Areas
Fukushima April 7, 2020 April 10 to 18, 2020
Sendai April 8, 2020 April 10 to 18, 2020
Aomori (Hirosaki) April 21, 2020 April 25 to May 2, 2020
Akita (Kakunodate) April 15, 2020 April 20 to 28, 2020
Iwate (Kitakami)
Hakodate April 25, 2020 April 28 to May 5, 2020
Sapporo April 26, 2020 April 28 to May 5, 2020

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