Tokyo was rainy and cold on the first day sakura cherry blossoms officially began blooming in the nation's capital, according to the Meteorological Agency, with the peak timing for flower-viewing predicted to come in a week to 10 days.
On Tuesday morning, agency officials found five flowers on a someiyoshino tree in Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. This met the agency's conditions for declaring the start of the someiyoshino blooming season. The cherry variety is the most common and popular in Japan.
Tokyo is the first city in the country to meet the standard this year, five days earlier than average, an agency official told The Japan Times.
Millions of people across the country look forward to the annual event, holding hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) parties underneath the trees in parks during the short blooming season.
According to the latest predictions by Weather Map Co., Fukuoka is likely to see someiyoshino bloom on Friday, followed by Nagoya (March 29), Osaka (April 2), Sendai (April 11), Niigata (April 13), Aomori (April 25) and Sapporo (May 1). Full bloom is generally seen seven to 10 days from the kick-off.
The company offers more forecast details on its English-language website.