When Setsubun holiday on February 3rd has finished, it’s time for Spring in Japan! While the weather in February may still be cold, there are promises of spring everywhere. There is especially good news for those who are hoping to see Japan’s famously beautiful sakura blooming in 2016! The Japan Weather Association has released their Sakura Forecast for the entire country.
The sakura front normally starts from the southernmost part of the country in late March and works its way up to Hokkaido by May. If you want to know the best time to catch the sakura blossoms for the city you are living in or traveling to, read on!
2016 is a leap year, and according to the JWA, the forecast may differ between leap years and regular years. Sometimes leap year blossoms come later in certain regions of Japan. For this spring, the predictions look to be mostly normal, so no emergency schedule changes will be needed.
According to the Japan Weather Association’s predictions, The Chugoku, Kansai, Tokai, Hokuriku (Chubu) and Kanto regions will all have their leap year sakura blossoming as usual. The Tohoku region (northern Honshu) will actually have blooming sakura slightly earlier than a regular year. Finally, Hokkaido will also have a regular blooming season!
It looks like the sakura will begin blooming on March 25th in Fukuoka. Nagasaki will get its first blooms slightly later, on the 27th and Kagoshima will see its first sakura on the 31st.
Chugoku and Shikoku
The front will continue up to the Chugoku region and the island of Shikoku. The first blooms in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture will bloom on March 28th while in Chugoku, Hiroshima’s sakura are set to appear just one day later on March 29th!
Many people will be wondering when they can see the gorgeous sakura blooming in Kyoto’s most beautiful spots. The sakura are predicted to first bloom on March 29th in both Kyoto and Osaka.
The sakura front in Chubu is different depending on whether the city you plan to visit is in the north or south. For example in Nagoya, the first sakura are set to start blooming on the 26th of March. In Shizuoka prefecture, they will start on the 29th. However in northern cities like Kanazawa (Ishikawa prefecture) and Niigata city in Niigata prefecture, the sakura will not bloom until April 4th and 7th respectively.
In Kanto, the cherry blossoms will bloom around the same time as their southern Chubu counterparts and slightly earlier than in some parts of Kyushu. The sakura in Tokyo will begin to emerge on March 26th.
As the sakura front goes further north, the Tohoku region will start to see blooms in early April, with Sendai getting their first on the 9th. The front will continue up to Aomori where blossoms will appear later on in the month on April 22nd.
Hokkaido is the last point of the sakura front for Japan! Locals and visitors can look forward to cherry blossoms blooming on May 2nd in Sapporo!
As stated above, the general time for blossoms in Kanto, and specifically, Tokyo, comes around late March to early April. In the heart of Tokyo, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom as usual on March 26th, which is just slightly later than last year’s start of March 23rd. If you are hoping to also venture into other parts of Kanto such as Yokohama in Kanagawa, the sakura will start to appear around the 28th.
While the Kansai region normally gets its blooms a little earlier than Kanto, Kyoto city’s sakura will actually begin to bloom around March 29th. This means visitors should plan to see the famous blooms at Kiyomizu-dera around this time!
If you were hoping to get a glorious view of the sakura surrounding Mt. Fuji, you can see them starting to appear on March 29th as well! Shizuoka prefecture and Yamanashi prefecture, which both share Mt. Fuji and its beautiful scenery, will have their blooms at that point.
Isshingyo Osakura in Kumamoto
Nishi Park in Fukuoka
Shodeyama in Kagawa
Hirakiyama Park in Ehime
Senkoji Park in Hiroshima
Tsuyama Castle in Okayama
Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto
Izu Kogen Sakura Namiki in Shizuoka
Takatojoshi Park in Nagano
The Meguro River in Tokyo
Mitsuike Park in Yokohama, Kanagawa
Hachimanyama Park in Utsunomiya, Tochigi
Mihara Takizakura in Fukushima
Hirosaki Park in Aomori
Shiroishi River in Miyagi
Goryokaku in Hakodate
Shibazakura Takinoue in Monbetsu
For more details about what types of sakura bloom and how to plan your trip, please feel free to check this article! You can find out all the information you need and suggestions for where to have the most fun during your cherry blossom viewing!