The cherry blossom season is currently underway in western, central and eastern Japan. By today, most of the cities in Kyushu, Shikoku, Chugoku, Kinki, Chubu and Kanto regions have announced the opening of their first blossoms (kaika). Thanks to the warm weather that the country has been experiencing over the past few days, the cherry blossoms have been exploding open and progressing towards their best.
Today, I headed to Kochi in southern Shikoku to check out how the season has progressed this year. Kaika was officially announced in Kochi on March 15, 2018 about a week earlier compared to the average year and reached full bloom (mankai) a mere four days later on March 19, 2018, making it one of the fastest progressions of cherry blossoms from open to mankai.
After opening, the flowers typically remain sturdy for about three to four days before being susceptible to inclement weather. Despite arriving almost a week after mankai in Kochi was announced, I am pleased to report that the cherry blossoms at the spots I visited today were still at full bloom. Mild and warm weather is forecast for the next few days, and those in Kochi can still look forward to the beautiful open blossoms. However, I expect the petals to start falling towards the end of the coming week.
Kochi Castle is one of the twelve original castles in Japan. Today, I made my way to the castle grounds to check out the state of the cherry trees there. Most of the trees can be found in the Ninomaru area of the castle grounds and I saw lots of locals picnicking there when I arrived. The cherry trees were at full bloom and should remain at their best for the next few days before the flower petals start to fall.
Makino Botanical Garden is a quiet garden found on Mount Godaisan. There are about 30 varieties of cherry trees in addition to other flowering plants spread out across the garden, making for very pleasant walks. Due to the large variety of cherry trees, the state of the the cherry blossoms were also varied from approaching their best to end of flowering season for the early blooming varieties. I found that there were still lots of cherry blossoms to be seen in the garden and most of the cherry trees can be found at the northern end.
Kagamino Park is a local park not far from the Kochi University of Technology. During the cherry blossom season, the park is best known for its cherry tree tunnel which can be found between the park and the university. Today, I found the cherry blossoms to be at full bloom and expect the best viewing period to continue into the coming week.