• Kyodo News

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Cherry trees started blooming Saturday in Tokyo and in Nagasaki Prefecture, officially kicking off this year’s “hanami” (cherry blossom viewing) season, the Meteorological Agency said.

The cherry blossoms, known as “sakura,” came out seven days earlier than average in Tokyo but just a day earlier than last year. In Nagasaki they were four days earlier than normal but three days earlier than last year, the agency said.

The agency, which closely follows this harbinger of spring, said the first blossoms were spotted on the “someiyoshino” variety of sakura designated as “sample trees” at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo and on the grounds of the regional meteorological agencies in Nagasaki.

A tree has to have “five or six blooms” to be deemed in bloom.

The agency said temperatures across Japan will be higher than on average on Sunday but will drop to average or lower starting Monday.

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