It was announced that the first blossoms opened in Tokyo on March 14, kicking off the cherry blossom season in the capital. This early start marks one of the earliest sakura openings ever since the meteorological agency started keeping records in 1953; the two other early cherry blossom season openings were also on March 14 in 2020 and 2021. Matt did our first cherry blossom report from Tokyo on March 15, just one day after the official opening announcement, and reported that the season had indeed just started.

Elsewhere in the country, the first opening of the cherry blossoms were reported in Osaka and Hiroshima today (March 19), Kyoto and Nagoya on March 17, and Fukuoka on March 18.

Today, I am pleased to report that the blossoms in Tokyo are progressing slowly, but surely, with less than 15 percent of open blossoms in the places I visited, since the official opening of the cherry blossoms five days ago and four days after our first report. Warmer temperatures are forecast for the next few days, which should encourage a lot more blossoms to open, and I expect the best viewing of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo to start from the second half of the coming week.

This year also marks the return of cherry blossom viewing (hanami) picnics in Tokyo's public parks, in which people are free to lay out picnic mats to eat and drink under the cherry trees after three years of being asked to refrain from doing so. However, note that the rules for where to do hanami parties differ for each park and it is best to check before going.

Asukayama Park

Blossoms Opening

Asukayama Park is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo with about 600 cherry trees. It is a short walk from Oji Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line. Today, I found the cherry blossoms to be still largely in their buds, but I expect the warmer temperatures forecast for the next few days to encourage more buds to open. The best viewing period at Asukayama Park is estimated to start in the later half of the coming week. Additionally, park will be illuminated from 18:00 to 22:00 from March 18 through to April 9.

Ueno Park

Blossoms Opening

Over at Ueno Park, one of Tokyo's most popular and well-known cherry blossom spots, the cherry trees were obviously still under the half way point to full bloom. There were more closed buds than open blossoms. However, half of the closed buds look like they were ready to burst open within the next few days. The best viewing period at Ueno Park is predicted to start in the later half of the coming week.

Sumida Park

Just Opened

Sumida Park is a scenic cherry blossom spot along the Sumida River not far from Asakusa that offers nice views of sakura in combination with the Tokyo Skytree. I found most of the flowers still wrapped tightly in their buds and only a few open cherry blossoms. A few more days are needed for the opening of more blossoms, and estimate the best viewing to be around the end of the coming week. Additionally, after a three year hiatus, the park will be illuminated once more from 18:00 to 21:00 during the cherry blossom season from March 18 to April 9.

Meguro River

Blossoms Opening

Over at the Meguro River, another one of Tokyo's best cherry blossom spots, only approximately 10 percent of the flowers were open in the vicinity of Nakameguro Station. Many of the blossoms looked ready to open after a couple more days of warm weather, and I predict that the best viewing period to be from the later half of the coming week. Additionally, the riverside will be illuminated from March 18 through to April 9 from 17:00 to 20:00.