If you are looking for the flower that represents Japan, look no further than the sakura (cherry blossom). Their blossoming together and brilliant fluttering in the very short period of early spring is believed to represent the Japanese view of life as “something transient and empty”.


       “Flower forecasts” become a big topic in Japan in the middle of March. The Japan Meteorological Agency as well as private institutions announce their forecast for when the Yoshino cherry tree, the representative cherry blossom, will blossom. Blossoming is declared at the point where five or six blossoms have opened, there is no strict definition. In the Japanese archipelago, which extends a long distance from north to south, you can enjoy sakura from January (in Okinawa in the south) to May (in Hokkaido in the north). This is called the “cherry blossom front” and has become a tradition to inform of the arrival of spring.


       The Japanese, who love cherry blossoms and eagerly await spring, start preparing for cherry blossom viewing (hanami) based on the flower forecast. Family and friends bring potluck meals and chat together under the cherry blossoms. Blossoming is forecast on March 31 in Tokyo, a little later than usual. You can also enjoy cherry blossom viewing while walking; this way you can avoid noisy groups who may bother your cherry blossom viewing experience.


The Bloom of Cherry Blossoms