Arielle Busetto, JAPAN Forward

The blooms started opening out in Okinawa on January 13, and are expected in Tokyo around March 18.

The Kanhi-Zakura cherry trees bloomed in Okinawa on January 13, kicking off Japan’s sakura season that’s coming a bit earlier than usual in 2021, and signalling sakura aficionados to start scheduling their hanami or flower viewing season.

For more than 17 years, Weathernews website has been publishing a yearly cherry blossom forecast called “Sakura Project.” Using crowdsourced data covering more than two million cherry blossom trees around the country, the organization pulls up a data map, which predicts the day when the cherry blossoms will start blooming around Japan.

The most prestigious variety of sakura during cherry blossom season in Japan is often said to be the Somei Yoshino, also known as the “king of cherry blossoms.”

This variety differs from the Kanhi-Zakura (or Higan Zakura), trees growing in Okinawa, which bloom earlier and are more suited to a humid climate.

Somei Yoshino is the fluffy white and lightly pink variety of blossoms with petals so delicate that, when they fall, they appear to be dancing in the wind.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.