Cherry blossoms in full bloom are seen in Tokyo.(AFP)
Cherry blossoms in full bloom are seen in Tokyo.(AFP)

In Photos: Cautious appreciation as Japan's famous cherry blossoms bloom early

  • This year, the cherry blossoms reached their earliest peak bloom ever based on formal records.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
UPDATED ON MAR 31, 2021 07:17 AM IST

The cherry blossom season which is regarded as the traditional sign of spring in Japan, peaked at the earliest this year since formal records began around 1,200 years ago. The blossoms, which are called ‘sakura’ in Japanese, used to reach peak bloom in April. According to scientists, early flowerings are likely to be connected to climate change. In Kyoto, which experienced a warmer spring this year, the season peaked on March 26, according to data collated by the Osaka University. Similar patterns were seen in more than 12 cities across the country.

A person takes a photo of cherry blossoms in Tokyo.(AP)
A person takes a photo of cherry blossoms in Tokyo.(AP)

Traditional importance of ‘sakura’

The appearance of the blossoming of sakura has tremendous importance in Japan’s culture. Due to their nature of blooming en masse, they symbolise clouds, which is considered a metaphor for the transitory nature of life. Moreover, the trees bloom for a very short duration, about two weeks each year from first bud to all the blossoms falling off, a reflection of the ephemeral nature of beauty.

People ride boats watching cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park in Tokyo.(AFP)
People ride boats watching cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park in Tokyo.(AFP)


The concept of awareness of the transience of things, which is called mono no aware in Japanese, is extremely pertinent to the country’s culture. Due to their importance in Japanese culture, the cherry blossoms are used in Japanese art, films and even represented on consumer goods.

People walk across a street under a canopy of cherry blossoms.(AP)
People walk across a street under a canopy of cherry blossoms.(AP)

Earliest peak bloom

Each year, the progress of the cherry blossom season is monitored in Japan by the country’s meteorological agency. This year, the cherry blossoms reached their earliest peak bloom ever based on formal records.

A person poses in front of cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park in Tokyo.(AFP)
A person poses in front of cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park in Tokyo.(AFP)


The meteorological agency tracks 58 cherry trees across the country and this year 40 of the trees tracked have already reached peak bloom according to the agency. The agency also said that 14 of 40 trees have reached peak bloom in record time.

People gather on bridges as cherry blossoms bloom over Meguro River in Tokyo.(AP)
People gather on bridges as cherry blossoms bloom over Meguro River in Tokyo.(AP)


“We can say it’s most likely because of the impact of global warming,” said Shunji Anbe, an official at the observations division at the Japan meteorological agency according to news agency Reuters.

A man poses his dog in front of cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park in Tokyo.(AFP)
A man poses his dog in front of cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park in Tokyo.(AFP)


According to data provided by the agency, average temperature in Kyoto in March rose to 10.6 degrees Celsius (51.1 F) in 2020 from 8.6 C (47.5 F) in 1953, which is being considered as the major reason for the early peak blossoms.

(with agency inputs)

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