We are now in our second week of our yearly sakura reports and almost all the cities from Kyushu to Kanto have announced the opening of their first blossoms (kaika) with the exception of some cities located at higher altitudes. Since last week, most of Japan has been experiencing warm and sunny temperatures and this favorable weather will lead the blossoms to their best viewing period (if they are not already there) and towards full bloom this week. Similar warm and sunny spring temperatures are also forecast for the rest of this week making for comfortable flower viewing (hanami) parties.
Cities that have already reached full bloom this sakura season include Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama, all about a week to ten days earlier compared to the average year. This week would be the one of the best times to head out and enjoy the spring weather and hanami parties as nice weather forecast for the rest of this week.
Continuing my stay in Kyushu, I visited some of the popular cherry blossom spots in Fukuoka today. The city announced the opening of their first blossoms on March 19, 2018 and reached full bloom (mankai) today, nine days later. The cherry trees at the places I visited today are at their best viewing period, and given the warm temperatures I predict that they would reach full bloom by the end of the day. I expect the coming days and the weekend to be the best time for hanami parties and enjoying the open blossoms.
The cherry trees at Maizuru Park, where the Fukuoka Castle Ruins are located, were at the stage just before full bloom today. It will only take a day or two of warm weather (which is forecast for the rest of this week) for the trees at the park to reach their best. There is a sakura festival on the grounds of the park from 10:00 to 22:00 until April 8 and the grounds are also illuminated from 18:00 to 22:00 during the festival period. Note that the illumination on the castle ruins grounds require an admission charge.
Nishi Park is a short walk from Maizuru Park and there are over a thousand cherry trees on the park grounds. Today, I found the cherry trees to be just before full bloom and would require a day before reaching their best. I expect the park to be crowded in the coming days and over the weekend with lots of visitors out to enjoy the flowers.
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park> is a park north of Fukuoka City. The spacious park has about 2000 cherry trees and a wide variety of other flowering seasonal plants. Today, I found the cherry trees to be under the midway mark to their best. While many of the trees had some open blossoms, the cherry tree sections at the park did not look as fluffy as they will be in time to come. I expect the cherry trees here to reach their best viewing period by the end of this week.