Cherry blossoms flowered in Tokyo on Saturday, the earliest date on record for the nation’s capital and the first to bloom in the nation this spring, the Meteorological Agency said.

The agency said a Somei-Yoshino cherry tree on the grounds of the Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward began blooming 12 days earlier than normal and seven days earlier than last year, apparently due to a warmer winter. But Tokyo saw snow on Saturday afternoon due to a low-pressure system.

The previous earliest records since records began in 1953 were in 2002 and 2013, when the cherry blossom season started on March 16.

The capital’s cherry blossoms are expected to be in full bloom in a week to 10 days.

This winter, the average temperature in central Tokyo was the third highest on record, at 8 degrees Celsius.

A private meteorological company expects early blooming of cherry trees throughout Japan.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has called on people to refrain from holding cherry blossom-viewing parties in parks and along rivers banks managed by the metropolitan government in order to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

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