To the world, cherry blossoms are an iconic symbol of Japan. From the tail end of March to early May, sakura (cherry blossom) trees - from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south - bloom.
The first two weeks of April are often considered the best time for viewing the flowers. Practised for centuries, the annual hanami - or flower viewing - is still one of the most celebrated pastimes.
People picnic in parks, drink beer and enjoy the beauty of the flowers. An important aspect of hanami is predicting exactly when the cherry blossoms will appear.
There are even dedicated websites to help visitors and locals time their visits to popular cherry blossom spots, such as the Marayama-Koen park in Kyoto.