Inspiration Explore Sakura Ahead of Schedule: Japan's Cherry Blossom Season Forecast Revealed for 2024

Sakura Ahead of Schedule: Japan's Cherry Blossom Season Forecast Revealed for 2024

Cherry blossom trees during sakura season on the grounds of Hirosaki Castle, one of Japan's top cherry blossom destinations - Luxury Escapes

Blossom forecasting has begun in Japan, with the country's famous spring attraction set to make an appearance in the coming weeks.

Japan's highly anticipated cherry blossoms are expected to bloom earlier than usual this year, as revealed in the 2024 annual sakura forecast.

Set to begin as early as mid-March in Fukuoka, Kochi, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Osaka, the blossoms are predicted to continue for the next three months, coming to a close in May in Hokkaido.

Here's the 2024 flowering season forecast (latest forecast as of 9 February, Japan National Tourism Organisation):

  • Fukuoka City (Fukuoka) – 19 March (predicted) – 22 March (average)
  • Kochi City (Kochi) – 19 March (predicted) – 22 March (average)
  • Chiyoda (Tokyo) – 20 March (predicted) – 24 March (average)
  • Hiroshima City (Hiroshima) – 21 March (predicted) – 25 March (average)
  • Osaka (Osaka) – 22 March (predicted) – 27 March (average)
  • Kanazawa (Ishikawa) – 27 March (predicted) – 3 April (average)
  • Niigata City (Niigata) – 2 April (predicted) – 8 April (average)
  • Nagano City (Nagano) – 6 April (predicted) – 11 April (average)
  • Aomori City (Aomori) 19 April (predicted) – 22 April (average)
  • Sapporo (Hokkaido) – 27 April (predicted) – 1 May (average)
  • Kushiro (Hokkaido) – 12 May (predicted) – 16 May (average)

Going dormant in the winter months, the blossoms awaken after spates of warm days, allowing forecasters to predict the blooming cycle. In the more temperate southern reaches, they bloom closer to March, and for the cooler northern areas, closer to May.

Sakura has long been an important cultural symbol in Japan, representing renewal and the transience of life itself. Hanami, the centuries-old tradition of flower viewing is practised across the country, with plenty of spots open to the public during the season.

From March to May, here are some of the best spots to view the sakura in Japan:

Fukuoka (from 19 March)

Approximately 1,300 cherry blossom trees line Nishi Park, attracting visitors for over 100 years. During Hanami season, food and drink stalls open on the avenue, and a special light show illuminates the trees at night.

Tokyo (from 20 March)

Tokyo's Ueno Park is home to more than 1,000 trees, largely lining a pathway between the Keisei Ueno train station and the Tokyo National Museum, creating a tunnel effect popular with Hanami parties. For a unique viewing experience, visitors can hire a paddleboat and see sakura from the river at Chidorigafuchi Park.

Hiroshima (from 21 March)

To view both an icon of the city and bounds of blossoms, head to the grounds of Hiroshima Castle, which plays host to more than 450 trees (best viewed from the castle keep, or the opposite side of its moat).

Osaka (from 22 March)

One of Japan's most famous blossom-viewing spots, Mount Yoshino is home to around 30,000 trees of different varieties, easily admired from one of many nearby trails. Many of the streets of Shimo and Naka Senbon are closed to car traffic over the season, and are best explored on foot.

Kanazawa (from 27 March)

Named one of Japan's most beautiful gardens, Kenrokuen Garden waives admission fees during sakura season. There are ample viewing spots such as the Hanami-Bashi (meaning 'flower-viewing bridge').

Aomori (from 19 April)

Decorating the grounds of Hirosaki Castle are over 2,500 trees, their petals often blanketing the surface of its moats. A festival is held seasonally at Hirosaki Park, with ample picnic space and illuminations in the evening.

Hokkaido (from 27 April)

To see more than 1,400 trees in Japan's latest blossoming destination, head to Hokkaido Shrine in Sapporo, home to both white and pink varieties plus red plum blossoms up until late May.

Feature image: Hirosaki Castle, Japan, courtesy of Shutterstock.

About Siri Smith
Lover of trinkets and a wistful sentimental, Siri likes to collect tiny things and craft playlists to commemorate her favourite places. When she's not daydreaming, find this self-described polymath picking up a new hobby.

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