This year's cherry blossom season continues apace, with the frontline already reaching into Japan's northern Tohoku Region - Sendai officially announced the arrival of full bloom on Saturday, while the opening of buds was announced for Yamagata City today.

Two days on from my last report in Kyoto, where full bloom was well underway, I today set out to check on how things were progressing on Mount Yoshinoyama - a mountain of great spiritual significance known for its many cherry blossom trees. Unusually however, the most visible variety here is Yamazakura, which unlike the elsewhere more numerous Somei Yoshino cultivar grows naturally in the wild and forms leaves at the same time as its blossoms, creating a slightly less vivid appearance.

The mountain is divided into four viewing areas by elevation, of which I visited all but the very top. Overall, I found the blossoms at all three spots to be still just within the period of best viewing, but with heavy rain forecast from today it is difficult to predict how long this will continue - new blossoms tend to be quite sturdy for the first two to three days, but thereafter can easily fall prematurely.

Kami Senbon

Full Bloom

My first stop was at the upper section of the mountain, called Kami Senbon or "Upper 1000 trees". Due to the higher elevation, this area tends to blossom slightly later than the other two with full bloom officially announced today - my experience definitely reflected this, as the blooms were noticeably fuller, and there were far less petals already on the ground.

Naka Senbon

Full Bloom

From Kami Senbon, I worked my way down to Naka Senbon or "Middle 1000 Trees", located in the middle of the mountain. Full bloom here was officially announced two days ago, and while many of the earlier blooming varieties had already begun to drop their petals, the branches of Somei Yoshino trees were still looking fairly full and vibrant.

Shimo Senbon

Full Bloom

I ended my day at Shimo Senbon or "Lower 1000 Trees" - the section of the mountain closest to Yoshino Station. Although still very enjoyable, the blossoms here were noticeably further along, with many of the earlier blossoming trees already beginning to look quite sparse, and the Somei Yoshino blossoms beginning to show some green leaves. While the future prospects of the other two locations may be hard to predict, I would expect this area to suffer quite a bit under the heavy rain predicted to fall from today to tomorrow.

For anyone planning to visit later in the evening, note that illuminations around the Nanamagari or Seven Turns pathway are scheduled to continue from 17:00 to 22:00 until April 21.