SINGAPORE - Japan’s well-loved sakura season is just around the corner, and the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) has released its forecast of when the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom across the country in 2023.
The earliest flowering will take place in the capital Tokyo on March 21, with its full bloom on March 29, according to the JMC’s second forecast on Jan 26.
For Kyoto and Osaka, the flowering dates are March 27 and March 28 respectively. Cherry blossoms in these two cities are forecast to be in full bloom on April 4.
Further north, Hokkaido will see cherry blossoms open towards the end of April, with a full bloom on May 2.
JMC will provide another cherry blossom update on Feb 9.
The forecasts are based on the popular Yoshino cherry trees in about 1,000 cherry blossom viewing locations across the country.
Other factors that determine the flowering include temperature lows in autumn and winter.
The peak season for cherry blossoms is usually from late March until early April. In the colder parts of Japan, especially in the north, the season occurs later.
Japan’s cherry blossoms reach peak bloom about a week after they start opening.
However, “peak bloom” does not mean the trees immediately shed their blossoms, as there is an estimated two-week window to continue enjoying them.
This is the first sakura season since Japan reopened its borders on Oct 11 in 2022, following restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means it has been almost three years since foreign tourists were able to see the cherry blossoms in spring.
Japan saw 3.83 million visitors in 2022, according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation. December alone saw 1.37 million visitors.
The numbers are short of the record 31.8 million visitors in 2019 before the pandemic. However, the approaching cherry blossom season might see a surge in tourist arrivals.