Although some parts of Japan have yet to see this year's first snowfall, experts say they already know when spring will come.

Residents of Kochi Prefecture in the Shikoku region will be the first to see cherry blossoms of the Somei-Yoshino tree this year, as early as March 18, according to a forecast by an Osaka-based meteorological company that predicts Japan’s iconic sakura may bloom earlier than usual.

Last year, spring arrived surprisingly early across the country, with buds starting to appear in Tokyo on March 17.