The Meteorological Agency's Kochi local observatory announced Saturday that cherry blossoms have bloomed in Kochi, making it the first prefecture to see the flowers in bloom this spring.

It is the first time in six years that Kochi has seen the earliest cherry blossom blooms in the country.

As temperatures are expected to rise on Sunday and Monday, cherry blossoms may soon begin to bloom in Tokyo and other parts of the country.

On Saturday, this season's first cherry blossoms were seen on a Somei-Yoshino cherry tree at Kochi Castle, which is regularly monitored by the agency.

While cherry blossoms were expected to bloom earlier than usual this year after a warm winter, the first blossoms came one day later than the average year and six days later than last year, due to cooler temperatures in March.

"I'm happy to see the first blossoms," said a 38-year-old man at the castle in the light rain. "I want to have a cherry blossom-viewing party soon."