Cherry blossom season has started in Japan, with trees in major cities across the country in full bloom.
Tokyo, Fukuoka and Wakayama are currently in full bloom, but the weather agency predicts that cities including Osaka, Kyoto and Kagoshima and due to reach full bloom this week.
Thanks to weather patterns, the cherry blossoms bloom at different times across the country. In colder northern Japan, the cherry trees flower much later, and the blossoms are expected to reach peak bloom towards the end of April and start of May. On the tropical islands of Okinawa, the flowers bloomed at the beginning of February.
The blooms have blossomed early this year, due to a warm spring.
Across central Japan, the first weekend of April is expected to be the busiest weekend for picnics under the cherry trees, in a ritual called hanami that translates as “flower viewing”.
The best places to enjoy the cherry blossoms include Ueno Park and Shinjuku Gyoen Park in Tokyo; Maruyama Park, the weeping blossoms at Heian Shrine, the riverbank in Arashiyama and the Philosopher’s Walkway in Kyoto; and Hirosaki Castle Park in Aomori Prefecture in northern Tokyo. The Japan Cherry Blossom Association compiles the top 100 spots for cherry blossom across Japan.
Cherry blossoms also flower across the world, in cities including Washington, DC and Bonn in Germany.
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