Japan issues first forecast for 2017 sakura cherry blossom season

A man looks at cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo on April 1, 2016.
A man looks at cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo on April 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO - Fancy a spring vacation?

Japan has issued its first predictions of when the country's famous cherry blossoms - or sakura - will be in full bloom at about 1,000 locations across the country.

The data, compiled by the private Japan Meteorological Corporation, covers 1,000 locations from Kyushu in the south to Hokkaido in the north.

In Tokyo, the sakura is expected to flower on March 22 this year, and reach full bloom around March 30, said the forecast released on Wednesday (Jan 18) by the Osaka company. This is four days earlier than in an average year.

The sakura will likely flower on March 27 in Kyoto and a day later in Osaka, and reach full bloom on April 4 in both cities.

In Sapporo, the sakura is predicted to flower on May 4 and reach full bloom on May 8.

Cherry blossoms first start blooming in southern Japan, and then move northwards to Hokkaido by early May.

Flowers also tend to bloom earlier at lower altitudes due to the warmer climates

The Japan Times daily, in an online report on Friday (Jan 20), said the official Japan Meteorological Agency stopped publishing national sakura forecasts since 2009 because several private firms were offering "similar, and often more detailed, predictions for thousands of locations in Japan".

More information is available here: https://n-kishou.com/corp/news-contents/sakura/news2017.html?lang=en