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The Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2018 Is Here

Cherry Blossoms Flowers Spring in Tohoku Kanto Chubu Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Hokuriku Koshinetsu
The Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2018 Is Here

There’s no symbol more iconic of spring in Japan than the sakura, so if you’re planning a trip to Japan to see the beautiful pink flowers, or if you’re putting together a cherry blossom viewing party, you’ll want to know when the blossoms will open. Thankfully, the Japan Weather Association has released its forecast for Sakura Season 2018.

This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to start blooming in Tokyo on March 24, which is two days earlier than average, but three days later than in 2017. Meanwhile, in Kyoto the JWA expects the sakura to bloom on March 28, the same day as in most years. Once the sakura bloom, you’ve typically got a week (give or take a few days) until they’re in full bloom.

Each year the “sakura front” (as the line of newly blooming cherry blossoms is called by meteorologists) starts in the warmer southwest and makes its way to the cooler northeast. Within Japan’s four main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu), the cherry blossoms will appear first in Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kochi Prefectures, all forecast for March 21. By April 30, the flowers are expected to begin blooming in Hakodate, the largest city in the southern section of the northern island of Hokkaido, with sakura in bloom across Hokkaido by May 15.

The specific dates forecast for earliest sakura sightings in each prefecture are:

Fukuoka: March 24
Oita: March 24
Nagasaki: March 22
Saga: March 24
Kumamoto: March 21
Miyazaki: March 21
Kagoshima: March 22

Kagawa: March 28
Tokushima: March 28
Ehime: March 26
Kochi: March 21

Hiroshima: March 27
Okayama: March 28
Shimane: April 1
Tottori: April 1
Yamaguchi: March 28
Osaka: March 28
Shiga: April 4
Kyoto: March 28
Hyogo: March 29
Nara: March 31
Wakayama: March 26
Aichi: March 26
Shizuoka: March 25
Gifu: March 26
Mie: March 30
Tokyo: March 24
Ibaraki: April 3
Tochigi: April 4
Gunma: April 1
Saitama: March 30
Chiba: March 30
Kanagawa: March 28
Yamanashi: March 29
Nagano: April 12
Niigata: April 9
Toyama: April 6
Ishikawa: April 4
Fukui: April 4
Miyagi: April 11
Aomori: April 24
Akita: April 17
Iwate: April 20
Yamagata: April 14
Fukushima: April 10

Hokkaido: April 30

It’s worth bearing in mind that this is the JWA’s initial forecast, and a revision may be coming later in February. Still, this should give you a rough outline of which days you’ll want to call into work pretending to be sick.

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