• Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Japan’s cherry blossom viewing may come early this year, says weather forecasting firm

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A couple enjoy the blooming cherry blossoms at the Oka river in Yokohama, Monday, April 10, 2017.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Visitors enjoy the blooming cherry blossoms at the Meguro river in Tokyo, Sunday, April 9, 2017.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Visitors take selfies with blooming cherry blossoms at the Meguro river in Tokyo last year in April.

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TOKYO >> Tokyo and many parts of the country should prepare for an early arrival of the cherry blossom season, according to a forecast that says winter’s grip may loosen earlier than usual this year.

Japan Meteorological Corp., an Osaka-based weather forecasting company, released its prediction of when the nation’s iconic sakura flowers will begin blooming.

According to the forecast, which covers about 1,000 locations across the country ranging from Kyushu in the south to Hokkaido in the north, this year’s flowers are due to arrive on March 20 in Tokyo, as well as Kochi and Kagoshima prefectures.

The company has predicted the flowers may start blooming in the nation’s capital up to six days earlier than usual, reaching full bloom on March 28. Last year, the blossoms officially began blooming in Tokyo on March 21, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Elsewhere, the cherry blossoms are expected to arrive on March 21 in Fukuoka, March 22 in Nagoya, March 26 in Osaka, March 27 in Kyoto and April 10 in Sendai.

In northern parts of the country, the flowers are expected to start blooming as usual, with residents of Hokkaido having to wait until around May 3 to begin cherry blossom viewing.

The southern islands in Okinawa Prefecture are usually the first to see the opening of the blossoms, which appear there in January due to the region’s subtropical climate.

The forecasts, which are subject to updates, are based on data derived from studying the blooming characteristics of the someiyoshino tree, or Yoshino cherry tree, the most common type of sakura tree, with its pale pink flowers.

More information can be found at the company’s website at n-kishou.com/corp/news-contents/sakura/news2018.html?lang=en.

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