Spring time in Tokyo is super magical at that time of the year. The cherry blossom (Sakura) has been celebrated in Japan for many centuries and holds a very sacred place in Japanese culture and hearts. Although there are many varieties of cherry tree in Japan, most bloom for just a couple of days in spring. The Japanese celebrate this time of the year with Hanami (cherry blossom appreciation) parties: friends, family or work colleagues gather and sit on plastic mats under the blossoming pink trees, to drink, sing, chat or just admire the spectacle.
The most important factor in determining the blooming time of cherry trees is the geographical location. The milder the climate, the earlier the blossoms open, so the blossom-time sweeps up the country from south to north. On Japan’s southern, subtropical islands of Okinawa, cherry blossoms open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, the flowering can be as late as May. In most major cities in between, such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the cherry blossom season typically takes place in early April. Furthermore, the blooming time of cherry trees differs from year to year depending on the weather. If the weather during the months and weeks preceding the cherry blossom season is mild, blossoms will open early. If it is cold, blossoms will open later. From year to year, the start of the blooming season can vary by as much as two weeks.