Thursday, 21st March 2013
In Weather In Japan,
Cherry blossom season begins in Japan
The start of the cherry blossom season in Japan has been confirmed, making it the record-equalling earliest beginning ever.
The country's weather agency uses Tokyo's central Yasukuni Shrine as the barometer to judge when the season starts.
Colours then explode on the trees creating a fantastic spectacle for visitors, before receding about a week later.
The agency has monitored cherry blossom since 1953 and this year's season equals the record which was set back in 2002.
It marks the coming of spring, and parties are held around the country to celebrate the short-lived beauty of the flowers.
Full bloom, known as mankai, is reached in around a week after the opening of the first blossoms, or kaika.
Some seven days later and the blossom will begin to fall from the trees, although strong wind and rain might play a part in cutting this time.
Written by Mark Smith
Related news stories:
Tokyo gears itself for cherry blossom festivals (4th March 2015)
Cherry blossom set to bloom in Kyoto (9th March 2012)
Japanese pop stars head to US for cherry blossom centenary (13th March 2012)