The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced on the afternoon of March 14th that it observed cherry blossoms blooming in central Tokyo, 12 days earlier than the average, and tied with 2020 for the earliest ever recorded in observation history.
The official observation is carried out by a staff member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Meteorological Observatory at Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward. The earliest flowering record to date was March 16th, in both 2002 and 2013 and records have been kept since 1953.
A staff member of the Tokyo meteorological observatory took measurements at the so-called sample tree earlier this afternoon and observed a 5-wheeled blossom, which is the official criterium for an open blossom.
The JMA said that temperatures were higher than normal for spring in eastern and western Japan on the 14th, similar to the temperatures in 2020, which was the reason for the earlier than average blooming.
Cherry blossoms are expected to bloom earlier than normal in various parts of western and eastern Japan this year.
Japan Meteorological Corporation Cherry Blossom Forecast
On March 11th, the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC, not JMA) released its seventh forecast for the blooming of Yoshino cherry blossoms in 1,000 locations across the country.
The JMC’s most recent forecast is as follows, for major locations in Japan.
For the full JMC forecast, please visit: 2021 Cherry Blossom Forecast
There are many famous cherry blossom viewing locations in Tokyo. In a typical year, places like Shinjuku Gyoen (National Garden), Meguro, Ueno, Chidorigafuchi, and Aoyama Cemetery are swamped with locals and tourists doing the annual sakura pilgrimage.
But one of the great things about living in Japan (and Tokyo, too!) is that almost every neighborhood has its own park, river walk, shrine or temple where you can do cherry blossom viewing without venturing too far from home!
Source: NHK, March 14, 2021 (in Japanese), JMC 2021 Cherry Blossom Forecast
Lead photo: iStock