Japan’s 2022 Cherry Blossom forecast revealed.

Cherry Blossom Japan
? Sora S. | Meguro River, Matsuno, Japan

Japan’s annual cherry blossom (sakura) forecast has been released, putting the Japanese into a state of high excitement. And the gorgeous pink buds are expected to bloom early for the 2022 sakura season. But how do we know?

How are Japan’s sakura seasons forecast?

After standing dormant during the icy winter months, Japan’s cherry blossoms sense the arrival of spring after experiencing several warm days in a row. A string of warm days eventually triggers the required ‘temperature sum’ for the blossoms to open, which is an important signal in the plant world more generally.

Essentially, Japan’s sakura season is in the hands of the weather and not a date in the calendar, which is why you’ll always see earlier blooms in Japan’s warmer southern prefectures, and the exact onset of the seasons will vary from year to year.

So, if it is looking like winter is clinging on for longer than usual, you can expect a delayed cherry blossom season. On the other hand, if those chilling breezes look set to make way for unseasonably milder conditions for a while, those beautiful blooms will probably be right around the corner.

What’s the cherry blossom forecast around Japan for 2022?

Sakura season will begin in the southern part of the country from 24 March, with Tokyo and Hiroshima being the first places to enjoy the delicate pale-pink flowers. The much-anticipated report from the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) revealed that sakura will bloom 5-10 days earlier than the average.

Tracking the ‘cherry blossom front’ is a national obsession, and forecasts of the dates when cherry blossoms will start to flower (kaika) and reach full bloom (mankai) are religiously checked and re-checked as the season gets closer. When the blooms arrive, millions flock to parks and city streets to enjoy harami – picnicking under the blossoming trees.

Sakura season has incited adoration in Japan for centuries. And while the blanket of blossoms that covers the country is undeniably spectacular, for the Japanese, sakura season is more than just a pretty time of year.

Cherry blossoms hold such appeal in Japanese culture because of what they symbolise: a time of renewal, the fleeting nature of existence, the transience of beauty, and the essence of ‘being the moment’.

Forecasted flowering 24 Mar
Forecasted Full Bloom 31 Mar

Forecasted flowering 24 Mar
Forecasted Full Bloom 2 Apr

Forecasted flowering 25 Mar
Forecasted Full Bloom 4 Apr

Forecasted flowering 28 Mar
Forecasted Full Bloom 5 Apr

Forecasted flowering 28 Mar
Forecasted Full Bloom 6 Apr

Forecasted flowering 29 Mar
Forecasted Full Bloom 6 Apr

Forecasted flowering 5 Apr
Forecasted Full Bloom 10 Apr

Forecasted flowering 12 Apr
Forecasted Full Bloom 17 Apr

Forecasted flowering 30 Apr
Forecasted Full Bloom 4 May
*Referenced: Japan Meteorological Corporation

Top 6 cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan

If you’ve never seen cherry blossoms in Tokyo, the first place you must go is Ueno Park. There are over 1000 trees, most of them lining the pathway between Keisei Ueno Station and the Tokyo National Museum. The branches from either side are so long that they reach out overhead, creating a tunnel-like effect.

Mount Yoshinoyama has remained a top cherry blossom viewing spot for centuries, with over 30,000 cherry trees of different varieties. It is said that the first cherry trees planted here were planted more than 1300 years ago. The trees can be seen during early to mid-April as guests walk the mountain trails, ride the ropeway up the mountainside, or enjoy the pink trees from the nearby town.

No matter how many times you come to Japan, you’ll never be able to get enough of Kyoto. With ancient landmarks and quaint streets on every corner, Kyoto makes for picture-perfect cherry blossom gorgeousness. It’s no wonder so many people flock here when the sakura trees open their petals.

Ibaraki prefecture often goes overlooked by travellers, but it deserves attention. Ibaraki doesn’t just have the typical cherry trees, but also the double-flowering type. As the name suggests, this variety has twice as many petals. Head to Shizumine Park in Nakashi City, where 2300 of them grow.

The further north you go in Japan, the later the sakura season. The Tohoku region makes up six of Honshu’s prefectures and consists mostly of rural communities, national parks, and hot spring resorts. Tohoku has plenty of hidden cherry blossom gems to discover like Shirakawago, the Takayama Spring Festival, and Lake Towada.

Hokkaido is also the last area of Japan to experience the cherry blossom bloom. You’ll miss the main thrust of the season, but that’s when they’ll start blooming in Hokkaido. Compared to bustling Tokyo and Kyoto, the atmosphere in Sapporo feels homey and laid-back. Although one of Japan’s largest cities, Sapporo has plenty of places to catch the cherry blossom bloom.