Cherry Blossom Report 2014
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

2014 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Popular cherry blossom spots
How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties - Post your own report

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2014/03/26 - Tokyo Report
by raina

Picnic near the cherry trees in Shinjuku Gyoen

Exactly three weeks after my early Tokyo blossom report, yesterday was the official start to Tokyo's sakura (cherry blossom) season. Kaika (first opening) this year started a day earlier than the average year's but nine days later compared to last year's record breaking early season. Today, I headed to Yasukuni Shrine to check out Tokyo's representative tree for myself and revisited Ueno Park and Shinjuku Gyoen. If the current warm weather situation holds up, it is predicted that the cherry blossoms in Tokyo will reach mankai (full bloom) by early next week.

Over in Kyoto, kaika (first opening) is expected to happen tomorrow. Meanwhile, in many prefectures in Kyushu, the flowers opened about a week ago and are expected to reach mankai (full bloom) by the end of this week. Head over to Scott's reports for updates in Fukuoka and Kyoto over the next few days.

Blossoming tree in Ueno Park

Yasukuni Shrine
March 26, 2014 - just opened (0-10%) (Somei Yoshino)

The first place I visited today was Yasukuni Shrine, I was looking forward to see Tokyo's official representative tree. Once there are five to six blossoms open on this tree, it marks the official start to the cherry blossom season in the capital. Most of the cherry trees on the shrine grounds are of the mainstream Somei Yoshino variety and it won't be long before they blossom, provided the temperature stays warm over the next three to four days.

Tokyo's official representative cherry tree in Yasukuni Shrine

A few open blossoms on the representative tree in Yasukuni Shrine

Miko in Yasukuni Shrine

Japanese flags can be bought at Yasukuni Shrine

Ueno Park (Ueno Koen)
March 26, 2014 - just opened (0-10%) (Somei Yoshino)
March 26, 2014 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (weeping cherry trees)
March 26, 2014 - full bloom (early blooming varieties)

Ueno Park is a very popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Even though it was only mid morning when I was there, there were people laying out their blue picnic sheets and reserving prime spots for viewing the cherry blossoms.

At the entrance of Ueno Park

Preparing for the upcoming cherry blossom viewing season

State of Somei Yoshino blossoms in Ueno Park

The weeping cherry tree from three weeks ago has blossomed and looked very impressive standing right at the entrance of Ueno Park. Another early blooming variety, the Okanzakura, were starting to lose their petals, leaving the ground pink with small sakura petals. However, most of the Somei Yoshino have barely started to blossom, with the best views expected to reach the park in four to five days. I saw many visitors to the park enjoying themselves taking pictures of the early blooming varieties.

An early blooming variety at full bloom

Shinjuku Park (Shinjuku Gyoen)
March 26, 2014 - just opened (0-10%) (Somei Yoshino)
March 26, 2014 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (Weeping cherry trees)
March 26, 2014 - opening (10-50%) (early blooming varieties)

My last stop of the day was at Shinjuku Gyoen, home to a wide variety of cherry trees and flowers and one of the best hanami spots in Tokyo. With the Somei Yoshino and the early blooming varieties having already started their season, it will not be more than a few days before the garden is filled with cherry blossoms and people having hanami parties.

A few different cherry tree varieties at their different stages in Shinjuku Gyoen

Moving southeast along a stream in the garden, I found a few weeping cherry trees, whose flowering periods tend to be a few days before the Somei Yoshino's, approaching full bloom. Today, they had the highest concentration of people taking pictures of their beautiful blossoms and the narcissus' growing beneath them. On the other hand, a quick look at the Okanzakura trees that I visited three weeks ago, showed that this variety is at the end of their season.

The two Okanzakura trees at the end of their season

A couple more days before these Somei Yoshino buds blossom

Early blooming variety in Shinjuku Gyoen

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Hakodate Report
2014/05/08 - Matsumae Report
2014/05/01 - Hirosaki Report
2014/04/30 - Kakunodate Report
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Report
2014/04/23 - Mt. Fuji Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu Report
2014/04/19 - Matsushima Report
2014/04/17 - Takato Report
2014/04/16 - Sendai Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Report
2014/04/15 - Fukushima Report
2014/04/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Report
2014/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/10 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/09 - Gunma Report
2014/04/09 - Hikone Report
2014/04/08 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Report
2014/04/05 - Matsuyama Report
2014/04/04 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/04 - Kamakura Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/03 - Fukuoka Report
2014/04/03 - Uji Report
2014/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Report
2014/04/02 - Kumamoto Report
2014/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/29 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/28 - Kumamoto Report
2014/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/25 - Kyoto Report