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Home - Travel - Essentials - Cherry Blossoms - Sean's Japan Travel Journal
Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report

Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report

Today, as a prelude to the main cherry blossom season, we visited Tokyo to check out the state of the buds and to view some early blooming cherry tree varieties. After a cold winter, the temperatures have risen dramatically in recent days and are expected to be generally average or warmer than average in the following weeks as well. This means a relatively early cherry blossom season across the country. In Tokyo the trees are expected to start opening around March 17 with full bloom following about one week later (see forecast).

First, we headed to Ueno Park, where visitors currently can enjoy views of some early blooming cherry trees. Two Okanzakura trees at the park entrance near Keisei Ueno Station were about half in bloom, while the weeping cherry tree (shidarezakura) between them has recently started to open. There were also a few Kohigan which have just begun their journey towards full bloom, and Kanzakura which were already beyond their peak.

Close to the Bentendo Hall in the center of the park's Shinobazu Pond, several Kanhizakura trees were at full bloom, delighting visitors with their sweet, dark pink flowers. The main season at the park, however, starts with the blossoming of its famous rows of Somei Yoshino trees, which is expected to happen about a week from now.

Early flowering Okanzakura tree (right) and Shidarezakura tree (left)

Okanzakura flowers

Kohigan blossoms just started to open

The Somei Yoshino cherry trees will take another week or so to start flowering

Kanhizakura at Bentendo

A short walk from Ueno Park is Yushima Tenjin Shrine, famous for its plum trees. We made a quick stop at the shrine and found that in general the season for the plum blossoms has passed its peak, but pleasant views can still be seen as some late blooming trees still had their pretty flowers in full glory.

Ema wooden plates and plum blossoms at Yushima Tenjin

Close up of some plum blossoms

Our next stop was at Yasukuni Shrine. Every year we visit to check out the representative Somei Yoshino tree at the shrine, which is the official indicator of the start of the cherry blossom season in Tokyo. Today, we observed a few somewhat full-looking buds on the representative tree, and estimate that it would take about another week before the first petals start to unfold.

Official representative tree to the right of the stage

Some of the more advanced buds at Yasukuni Shrine

For those who are currently in Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen is a highly recommended location to see some early blooming varieties of cherry blossoms. The huge park presents large beautiful open lawns, photogenic spots and many different types of cherry trees. The group of large weeping cherry trees in the southeastern corner of the park just started to open their flowers, while small numbers of other species were already in bloom such as the Jugatsuzakura, Kawazuzakura and Tokaizakura.

The most attention-grabbing specimen of the moment was a large Kanzakura tree at its peak in the center of the park, drawing lots of people snapping their cameras hungrily at it. Interestingly, there were two other Kanzakura trees at close vicinity which, like the ones at Ueno Park, were already in decline with leaves more prominent than flowers. In the following weeks we will be visiting Shinjuku Gyoen again: the Somei Yoshino cherry trees are expected to start flowering in about ten days and reach full bloom a week after, and following that the late blooming yaezakura varieties will take center stage at the park.

Shidarezakura have just started to open

Tokaizakura

Daffodils in bloom

Two Kanzakura trees in contrasting stages of blooming

Cute Mejiro bird enjoying itself amongst the Kanzakura flowers

Visitors enjoying themselves

NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building viewed from Shinjuku Gyoen

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs

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