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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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)