Japan Sees Early Cherry Blossoms. What’s the Cause?

248 views | 5:46pm on Tuesday 20th April 2021

Cherry blossoms in Japan have reached their peak bloom, earlier than in any other time since the official record set 70 years ago.

This could be attributed to climate change, according to experts.

Normally, Japan’s favorite flower, called “sakura," reaches its flowery peak in April, when the country celebrates the beginning of its new school and business year. 

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Japan's cherry blossoms set to bloom early this year

However, this year’s peak bloom was the earliest based on records from historic documents, diaries from Kyoto. 

The ancient capital of Kyoto saw it on March 26, the earliest since the data was collected by the Japan Meteorological Agency started in 1953 and 10 days ahead of the 30-year average. 

More than a dozen cities in Japan see record of Similar records were set this year. 

Tracking such documents, Yasuyuki Aono, an Osaka Prefecture University environmental scientist said the earliest blooms found before this year were March 27 in the years 1612, 1409, and 1236, despite some years with no records.

“We can say it’s most likely because of the impact of global warming,” said Shunji Anbe, an official at the observations division at the Japan Meteorological Agency.

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Japan Sees Early Cherry Blossoms. What’s the Cause?

The agency tracks 58 cherry trees around the country, and 40 of which already have reached their peak bloom this year and 14 have done so in record time. The normal bloom lasts about two weeks from first bud to all the blossoms falling off.

Cherry trees are sensitive to temperature changes and the time they bloom can provide beneficial data for climate change studies, Anbe said.

According to statistics, the average March temperature in Kyoto has risen to 10.6 degrees Celsius (51.1 F) in 2020 from 8.6 C (47.5 F) in 1953. The average March temperature in Japan this year has been 12.4 C (54.3 F).

Sakura has been a symbol of life, death and rebirth. It has been part of Japanese culture for ages and regularly been a source of inspiration for poetry and literature.

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