A Somei-Yoshino cherry tree being monitored in Kochi reached full bloom on Monday, the Metrological Agency said.

The tree, on the premises of Kochi Castle in Shikoku, started flowering on Thursday, becoming the earliest to do so of all the cherry trees under observation this spring. It also holds the record for earliest Somei-Yoshino tree to reach full bloom since the survey began in 1953, beating the old record by two days.

The tree reached full bloom 11 days earlier than average and 18 days earlier than last year. The agency declares a cherry tree in full bloom when about 80 percent or more of its buds are open.

The previous date for earliest monitored full bloom was March 21 in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward in 2002 and in Kochi Prefecture in 2010.

Among areas no longer monitored, the earliest full bloom date was March 20 for a tree in Nishinoomote, Kagoshima Prefecture, in 1973.

The nation’s cherry trees are starting to bloom rapidly amid the warming weather. A Somei-Yoshino in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward started flowering on Saturday, nine days earlier than usual, followed by the emergence of blossoms in the cities of Fukuoka, Matsuyama, Nagoya, Gifu and Yokohama on Monday.

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