This post has been updated to include the third cherry blossom forecast, announced February 18
While some people may say plum blossoms blooming are one of Japan’s first signs of spring, we all know the only true indicator is the release of the annual Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) Cherry Blossom Flowering Forecast Map of the year!
JMC provides regular updates as sakura season nears, estimating the first flower (kaika) and full bloom (mankai) of these precious pink and white blossoms. The predictions encompass Somei Yoshino (Yoshino Cherry) trees — one of the most common cherry blossom tree types — in approximately 1,000 hanami spots all the way from Hokkaido in the north to Kagoshima in the south.
This year, despite the cold winter, Tokyo’s cherry blossoms are set to start blooming on March 20, about two days earlier than last year’s first forecast predicted.
Update: The third sakura forecast expects cherry blossoms to bloom March 19 in Tokyo, a day sooner than previously announced. See below for a nationwide forecast:
For a guide to some of the most famous cherry blossom locations in Tokyo, click here.