The cherry blossom (sakura) is the unofficial national flower of Japan. It has been celebrated for many centuries and holds a very important position in the Japanese culture. There are many dozens of different varieties of cherry trees in Japan, most of which bloom only for a few days in spring. The Japanese celebrate this time of year with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties under the blooming trees.
Due to the warm temperatures in recent weeks, cherry blossoms have opened before the average annual schedule. In many towns in southern and central Japan, the season is now at its peak, or is already nearing its end. Meanwhile, the flowers have not even begun to open in locations in northern Japan along the Sea of Japan and in the higher altitudes.
JapanGuide.com has produced the forecast and actual dates of cherry trees opening their blossoms this year (according to the Japan Meteorological Agency) and the estimated best viewing periods. It should be noted that the weather conditions such as rain, wind and temperatures can exert influence on the process of the season, therefore, the forecasts are not to be taken at face-value.