Cherry blossoms bloom ahead of time
The cherry blossom season officially opened in Tokyo yesterday, 10 days earlier than usual, a trend that has become prevalent in recent years due to the consequences of climate warming.
The station marks the start of the hanami, a Japanese tradition of observing the new flowers of the sakura (cherry trees) and celebrating the arrival of the spring season by organizing outings with family or friends. Thus, the blooming of cherry blossoms is an event of interest throughout the country. Japanese media compete to predict when the season will start across the archipelago, covering it annually with remarkable enthusiasm.
The delicate white and pink flowers appeared at this early time of year in Tokyo in 2020 and 2021, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency based on its 70-year statistics on the subject. Last year, these flowers began to bloom six days after the previous year.
A Japan Meteorological Agency official told television cameras in Tokyo in an attempt to explain the early start of the season: "We've seen a lot of hot days in March." "Climate change may have played a role as well" in this situation, he added.
In 2021, the agency pointed out that this phenomenon is related to the upward trend in temperatures.
The COVID-19 pandemic partly spoiled the joy of the Hanami season between 2020 and 2022, after Japanese authorities advised against participating in festive gatherings during this period, even outdoors. Thus, Japan's 2023 celebrations will be the first season to open cherry blossoms without restrictions since 2019. It will also be the first in four years to be available to foreign tourists, for whom Japan closed its doors between 2020 and 2022 due to the health crisis.