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Sakura Delight in Earliest Peak On Record

Tokyo's Somei Yoshino trees were declared in full bloom on March 14. Sakura season has arrived early, but don't panic — you have until the end of April.



Somei Yoshino and Yōkō create a beautiful red and white collage in Shinjuku Gyoen on March 19, 2023. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

The official start of the sakura season was announced on March 14, which was 10 days earlier than usual and 6 days earlier than last year. It is the earliest sakura season recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The JMA usually observes Somei Yoshino and occasionally Kanhizakura to make these announcements. The cherry blossoms are blooming earlier each year, perhaps due to global warming.

In the past, peak sakura season was around the time of the school entrance ceremony, which occurs in early April in Japan. However, in recent years, sakura bloom around the time of graduation ceremonies, which take place at the end of March.

Tourists from Vietnam enjoy the sakura in Shinjuku Gyoen on March 19, 2023. (© JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

An Easy Way to Predict the Sakura Season

There's actually an easy way to calculate when the sakura will bloom. It is known as the "600 degrees rule." Simply add up the average daily temperature from January 1 (or the maximum daily temperature from February 1), and the day the numbers add up to 600°C (or 1112°F) is when the sakura will likely bloom. It is fascinating that this calculation provides a fairly accurate prediction of the sakura season.

The majestic Yōkō gathers crowds in Shinjuku Gyoen on March 19, 2023. (© JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

Last But Not Least

Although Somei Yoshino is in peak bloom, many other sakura varieties are yet to reveal their glory. So the sight of Somei Yoshino withering away is no cause for sadness.

The late bloomers of the sakura season will show us that the last is not the least. The Ichiyō blossoms, with their white, layered petals, start blooming around the same time as the Somei Yoshino. Other beautiful double-flowered sakura blossoms are waiting patiently for their turn, like the red Kanzan, the yellow-green Ukon, and the green Gyoikō.

Check out JAPAN Forward's Instagram for the Tokyo Sakura Story series, where we present the different sakura varieties and their profiles according to when they bloom. 

You can also head to the Shinjuku Gyoen, a park in the heart of Tokyo, to enjoy the sakura illumination event in the evenings from March 31 to April 23, 2023.

Shinjuku Gyoen in 2022, where various types of cherry blossoms can be enjoyed. (© JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)


Author: Hidemitsu Kaito

(Read the article in Japanese.)