Cherry blossoms are finally here in Japan: why is the spring festival late?

By Tychyna TetianaMar 31, 2024 20:57 PMNews
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Cherry blossoms are finally here in Japan: why is the spring festival late?
In search of cherry blossoms. Source: japan-forward.com (©Sankei, Kanata Iwasaki)

In Japan, cherry blossoms have always been a special symbol of the spring season, attracting millions of tourists from all over the world. Every year, hanami, or cherry blossom watching, becomes more and more popular, as well as an important economic factor for Japan.

Recently, however, unusual weather has led to the cherry blossoms blooming earlier than usual, causing unexpected changes in traditional views of this time of year. The Japanese publication japan-forward.com explains why this is happening.

The flowers of Japanese cherry trees are so iconic that they have become a symbol of the country.

There are several varieties of cherry trees in the country that bloom at different times of the spring season. The most popular variety is Somei-yoshino, which gained popularity during the Meiji era.

Hanami is not just a pleasant way to spend a weekend - it has also become a big business. Economists predict that the flowers will bring in over 7.5 billion USD to the country, thanks to the people who come to enjoy the full bloom (満開; mankai). As usual, several stores and brands are participating in the cherry blossom campaign with special cherry blossom-themed merchandise.

However, due to the incomprehensible weather in Japan, sakura blossoms in many regions have recently been discovered earlier than originally predicted by experts. It is noted that the air temperature in Japan was lower than average.

How the holiday of the beginning of cherry blossom is announced

This right belongs to the Japan Meteorological Agency. A representative checks the condition of six "flag trees" (標本木; hyouhonboku) in the city's Yasukuni Shrine. (58 such trees are used to announce mankai (full bloom) throughout Japan.)

Back on March 28, only five of the six trees indicating the beginning of flowering passed the test, and on March 29, the beginning of sakura blossom in Japan was officially announced.

It should be noted that last year, flowering began on March 15, and full bloom was around March 20.

In addition, Japan has a special app about the beginning of sakura blossoms called Sakura Navi. Here you can find out not only the beginning but also the nearest place of Japanese cherry blossom, as well as see a map of flowering locations.

It is worth reminding you that you can now visit Mount Fuji under special rules. TravelWise wrote about how it works.

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