Monday, 31st March 2014
In General Japan News,
Simulator offers daily blossom information
Unless you've been living under a rock where Japanese news is concerned, you can't have failed to notice that cherry blossom season is approaching.
There have been plenty of reports from meteorologists, botanists and other so-called experts where the flowering is concerned, but Weathernews has come up with a rather novel way of knowing what stage the blossoms are in before you actually get there with an inventive new service.
Sakura Simulator uses information submitted by people in the various prefectures of Japan to determine what the flowers are doing, updating its map on a day to day basis so you've got an accurate idea of what's going on.
There are five bloom levels available - Bud, Bloom, Full bloom, Falling, and Cherry tree in leaf. It's even possible to zoom into a detailed area to find out where the best blossoms are. It's very handy if you're travelling to Japan this April exclusively to see them.
Users of the service are also able to compare photos of how the trees looked last year compared to now.
The blossom season in the country is particularly famous as, during this time of year, many main streets and parks take on a beautiful pink hue, such is the widespread nature of the cherry tree.
Due to the way the country stretches so drastically from north to south, the blooms always start earlier at the bottom and seem to travel upwards to the very tip. Some travellers even follow this pattern on a sacred pilgrimage every year, witnessing the trees at their peak in many different areas.
Japanese people observe an enjoyable tradition during spring when they book out picnic sites in the main parks and enjoy food and alcohol with friends beneath the petals, before taking a stroll to take in the flowers.
Written by Susan Ballion