• Jiji, Kyodo


Tokyo saw cherry blossoms begin blooming Sunday, the same date as last year and the earliest date since records began in 1953, the Meteorological Agency said.

A sample Somei-Yoshino cherry tree at Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward began flowering on the day, 12 days earlier than an average year, according to the agency.

Somei-Yoshino trees in Tokyo are expected to be in full bloom in a week to 10 days, the agency said.

The tree’s first blooming of the season in the nation was observed in Hiroshima last Thursday, 16 days earlier than average. That was the second earliest on record in Japan after the first blooming was observed in Kochi on March 10, 2010, according to the agency.

Warmer than usual weather in February this year probably brought forward the blooming dates, an agency official said.

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