When will the cherry blossom start to open and how long will they last? This question is essential for hanami planning and discussed in detail in the media every year.
Hanami (花見), written with the characters for flower and to see, is just that: seeing the flowers. Taking a walk and looking at the cherry blossoms, meeting with your friends under the cherry trees and looking at the cherry blossoms while you talk and drink and eat.
Waiting for the flowers is a big part of sakura season’s attraction. The main evening news on TV present a sakura calendar that is updated daily. The news answer all those important sakura questions:
Okinawa has the earliest sakura starting already in January.
Old famous trees even have names and there are reports about them, for example if they have been damaged by snow.
Osaka forecasts for the first bloom of sakura is usually sometime in late March, but in the North in Hokkaido it will only start at the end of April.
There are endless famous and not so famous beautiful places to enjoy sakura everywhere in Japan. Anywhere near a temple or shrines you will probably find a cherry tree. I found a fantastic white and pink tree next to a busy Tokyo street last year.
JAPAN: the Official Guide by the Japan National Tourism Organization of course has a full section on sakura, including updated first bloom and full bloom forecasts for different cities and regions.