[Updated 2/22] Cherry Blossom Forecast 2021! Best Times for Sakura Viewing Across Japan This Spring.

Come spring, cherry blossom spots all around Japan are swarmed with people who come to enjoy beautiful, breathtaking sights of the trees covering their landscapes in a layer of pink. In this article, we’ll present the latest 2021 forecasts for when the cherries will start to bloom and when they’ll achieve full bloom. Most hanami parties will likely be canceled this year, but hopefully, you can at least get out to enjoy the blossoms on your own. So let’s all enjoy the extraordinary scenery of cherry blossoms while hoping for a return to normalcy!

2021 Cherry Blossom Forecast: Looks Like a Typical Year!

sakura at tokyo midtown

Every year, a cherry blossom forecast for both the first bloom and the full bloom is released for each region of Japan. These projections are based on the average temperatures over the previous fall and winter and the progressive growth rate of Yoshino cherry trees. This article is based on the Japan Meteorological Agency’s projected dates for the first bloom and full bloom of cherry blossoms for 2021. However, please keep in mind that this is a forecast, so future weather conditions could impact the dates.

2021 is now projected to be an early year for cherry blossoms. Due to the high temperatures in late fall, cherry trees all over the country took a while to break their dormancy, but once that was done, the regular-to-higher-than-usual temperatures accelerated their growth, making up for the lost time and resulting in an early blooming season.

What Is a “First Bloom” or “Full Bloom,” Anyway?

sakura at Ueno Park

Let’s quickly look at some of the different terms used in cherry blossom forecasting. The blossoming of 5-6 flowers is referred to as the “first bloom”, while the blossoming of 30% of the flowers is called a “three-tenths bloom” and 50% is “half-bloom.” The cherry tree is considered to be in “full bloom” when at least 80% of the buds have bloomed. Every region has certain sample trees, among which are trees from Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo and Osaka Castle Park. Staff from the Meteorological Agency will visually confirm the state of these sample trees to provide the most up-to-date information on when the cherry blossom trees in the region reach first bloom, three-tenths bloom, half-bloom, full bloom, or when they start to fall.

You’ll only find 5-6 flowers right after the first bloom, which isn’t quite enough to enjoy hanami, the Japanese custom of flower viewing. The ideal time to see cherry blossoms is right around full bloom. Hopefully, you can use the following forecast information to find the best time to participate in this iconic Japanese pastime.

Hokkaido and Tohoku Regions (Hokkaido, Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, and Fukushima Prefectures)

Goryokaku Park (Hakodate, Hokkaido)
goryokaku park sakura

This year, the cherry blossom season in Hokkaido is expected to fall in early May, while in Tohoku it should be from mid to late April.

Sapporo (Hokkaido)
First Bloom: May 3 | Full Bloom: May 7
Popular Viewing Sites: Maruyama Park, Hokkaido Jingu Shrine, Moerenuma Park

Hakodate (Hokkaido)
First Bloom: April 30 | Full Bloom: May 4
Popular Viewing Sites: Goryokaku Park, Hakodate Park

Aomori (Aomori Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 23 | Full Bloom: April 27
Popular Viewing Sites: Gappo Park (Aomori), Hirosaki Park (Hirosaki), Towada Government Offices Street (Towada)

Morioka (Iwate Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 17 | Full Bloom: April 23
Popular Viewing Sites: Rock-Breaking Cherry Tree (or “Ishiwarizakura”), Morioka Castle Ruins Park, Kitakami Tenshochi Park (Kitakami)

Akita (Akita Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 16 | Full Bloom: April 20
Popular Viewing Sites: Senshu Park (Akita), Noshiro Park (Noshiro)

Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 8 | Full Bloom: April 13
Popular Viewing Sites: Tsutsujigaoka Park, Nishi Park, Tenshukaku Nature Park

Yamagata (Yamagata Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 13 | Full Bloom: April 17
Popular Viewing Sites: Mamigasaki Sakura Line (Yamagata), Tsuruoka Park (Tsuruoka), Matsugasaki Park (Yonezawa), Tendo Park (Tendo)

Fukushima (Fukushima Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 2 | Full Bloom: April 7
Popular Viewing Sites: Mount Shinobu Park (Fukushima), Hanamiyama Park (Fukushima), Tsurugajo Park (Aizuwakamatsu)

Kanto and Koshin Regions (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi, Yamanashi, and Nagano Prefectures)

Ueno Park (Tokyo)
shinjuku gyoen sakura
Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku, Tokyo)

In a typical year, the first bloom in the Kanto and Koshin regions starts between late March and early April, and it’s expected that 2021 will be the same. Tokyo is projected to have the earliest first bloom, with the latest one occurring in Karuizawa and other cities in Nagano Prefecture that see a lot of visitors from Japan’s capital area.

Central Tokyo (Tokyo)
First Bloom: March 16 | Full Bloom: March 25
Popular Viewing Sites: Meguro River, Chidorigafuchi Park (near the Imperial Palace), Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku), Nihonbashi Sakura Street (next to Tokyo Station), Rikugien Gardens (Komagome), Ueno Park (Ueno), Yoyogi Park (Harajuku), Sumida Park (near the Tokyo Sky Tree), Inokashira Park (Kichijoji)

Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 19 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Yokohama Park, Yamashita Park, Sakura-dori Street and Kishamichi Promenade, Ooka River

Kumagaya (Saitama Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 20 | Full Bloom: March 29
Popular Viewing Sites: Omiya Park (Saitama), Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi (Kumagaya), Seiunji (Chichibu), Nagatoro Sakura (Nagatoro), Musashi-Kyuryo National Government Park (Namegawa)

Choshi (Chiba Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 27 | Full Bloom: April 5
Popular Viewing Sites: Inohana Park (Chiba), Izumi Nature Park (Chiba), Aobanomori Park (Chiba)

Mito (Ibaraki Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 25 | Full Bloom: April 3
Popular Viewing Sites: Kairakuen, Gokoku Shrine, Lake Senba

Utsunomiya (Tochigi Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 24 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Nikko Kaido Cherry Trees (Utsunomiya), Hachimanyama Park (Utsunomiya), Senjusan Park (Kanuma)

Maebashi (Gunma Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 23 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Maebashi Park (Maebashi), Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura (Maebashi), Takasaki Kannonyama Park (Takasaki)

Kofu (Yamanashi Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 16 | Full Bloom: March 26
Popular Viewing Sites: Kanazakura Shrine (Kofu), Lake Kawaguchiko (Kawaguchiko), Jiunji (Koshu)

Nagano (Nagano Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 6 | Full Bloom: April 12
Popular Viewing Sites: Shiroyama Park (Nagano), Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto), Kozenji Temple (Komagane)

▼Related articles from our sister site Tsunagu Japan:
10 Best Spots for Enjoying Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo: Japanese Springtime is All About Sakura!
10 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Yokohama, Japan’s Beautiful Port City
10 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Kamakura: Enjoy the Elegance of an Ancient City Only an Hour From Tokyo!

Tokai and Hokuriku Regions (Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, and Shizuoka Prefectures)

nagoya sakura
Nagoya (Aichi)
kanazawa sakura
Kanazawa (Ishikawa)

The Tokai region’s earliest first blooms are expected to occur in Nagoya (one of Japan’s three largest cities) and Gifu. The trees are now expected to bloom much earlier than a typical year, and the same goes for the Hokuriku region.

Nagoya (Aichi)
First Bloom: March 17 | Full Bloom: March 28
Popular Viewing Sites: Nagoya Castle (Nagoya), Tsuruma Park (Nagoya), Inuyama Castle (Inuyama)

Gifu (Gifu Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 17 | Full Bloom: March 27
Popular Viewing Sites: Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa), Usuzumi Park (Motosu), Sunomata Ichiya Castle (Ogaki)

Tsu (Mie)
First Bloom: March 22 | Full Bloom: March 27
Popular Viewing Sites: Tsu Kairaku Park (Tsu), Nabari Central Park (Nabari), Ueno Castle (Iga)

Niigata (Niigata Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 6 | Full Bloom: April 11
Popular Viewing Sites: Takada Park (Takada), Matsugamine (Joetsu), Nakago no Sakura (Tsunan)

Toyama (Toyama Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 31 | Full Bloom: April 6
Popular Viewing Sites: Matsukawa Park, Shio-no-Senbon Sakura

Kanazawa (Ishikawa)
First Bloom: March 29 | Full Bloom: April 5
Popular Viewing Sites: Kenroku-en, Kanazawa Castle Park, Mount Utatsu Park

Fukui (Fukui Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 28 | Full Bloom: April 4
Popular Sites: Asuwayama Park (Fukui), Kanegasaki Park (Tsuruga), Nishiyama Park (Sabae)

Shizuoka (Shizuoka Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 21 | Full Bloom: March 31
Popular Viewing Sites: Sunpu Castle Park (Shizuoka), Hamamatsu Castle Park (Hamamatsu), Urui River (Fujinomiya), Fuji Cemetery (Oyama)

Kinki Region (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Shiga, and Wakayama Prefectures)

japan mint sakura
Japan Mint (Osaka)
kyoto ninna-ji sakura
Ninna-ji (Kyoto)

The Kinki region is full of famous tourist destinations like Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, as well as many famous cherry blossom sites. First blooms should fall much earlier than a typical year, up to 10 days earlier. Wakayama is expected to have the earliest first bloom, followed by Kyoto.

Osaka (Osaka Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 21 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Japan Mint (Osaka), Osaka Castle Park (Osaka), Expo Commemoration Park (Suita)

Hikone (Shiga Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 23 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Hikone Castle (Hikone), Kaizu Osaki (Takashima), Ishiyama-dera Temple (Otsu), Mii-dera Temple (Otsu)

Kyoto (Kyoto Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 18 | Full Bloom: March 29
Popular Viewing Sites: Daigo-ji Temple, Maruyama Park, Tetsugaku-no-Michi (Philosopher’s Path), Arashiyama and Togetsukyo Bridge, To-ji Temple, Keage Incline, Ninna-ji, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Heian Jingu Shrine, Kyoto Gyoen National Garden

Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 21 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Himeji Castle (Himeji), Shukugawa Park (Nishinomiya), Hiokayama Park (Kakogawa)

Nara (Nara Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 20 | Full Bloom: March 29
Popular Viewing Sites: Nara Park, Kofukuji Hokuendo Temple, Nara Gokoku Shrine

Wakayama (Wakayama Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 17 | Full Bloom: March 28
Popular Viewing Sites: Wakayama Castle, Kimiidera Temple, Daikado River

▼Related articles from Tsunagu Japan:
Don’t Miss Sakura in Full Bloom! The 15 Best Hanami Spots in Osaka
8 Secret Cherry Blossom Spots in Kyoto Only Locals Would Know

Chugoku and Shikoku Regions (Hiroshima, Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Kochi Prefectures)

onomichi senkoji sakura
Senkoji Park (Onomichi, Hiroshima)
maniwa daigo sakura
Daigo Cherry Tree (Maniwa, Okayama)

It’s being forecasted that the Chugoku region will see its first bloom much earlier than a typical year, and the same goes for Shikoku.

Hiroshima (Hiroshima Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 16 | Full Bloom: March 28
Popular Viewing Sites: Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima), Shofukujiyama Park (Higashihiroshima), To-no-mine Senbonzakura (Mihara)

Tottori (Tottori Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 20 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Kyusho Park (Tottori), Shikano Castle Ruins Park (Tottori), Hoki Shiawase no Sato (Kurayoshi), Minatoyama Park (Yonago)

Matsue (Shimane)
First Bloom: March 21 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Matsue Jozan Park, Tamayu Riverbank

Okayama (Okayama Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 21 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Asahi River Sakura Road (Okayama), Okayama Korakuen (Okayama), Tsuyama Castle (Tsuyama)

Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 21 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Ruriko-ji Five Story Pagoda (Yamaguchi), Hinoyama Park (Shimonoseki), Kintaikyo Bridge (Iwakuni)

Tokushima (Tokushima Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 23 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Tokushima Central Park (Tokushima), Ikuna Cherry Blossoms (Katsuura), Yuka no Sato (Kamiyama)

Takamatsu (Kagawa)
First Bloom: March 22 | Full Bloom: April 1
Popular Viewing Sites: Ritsurin Garden (Takamatsu), Shiudeyama (Mitoyo), Asahiyama Forest Park (Mitoyo)

Matsuyama (Ehime)
First Bloom: March 17 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Matsuyama Castle (Matsuyama), Dogo Park (Matsuyama), Mt. Sekizenzan (Kamijima)

Kochi (Kochi Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 18 | Full Bloom: March 27
Popular Viewing Sites: Kochi Castle/Kochi Park (Kochi), Godaisan Park (Kochi), Kagamino Park (Kami)

▼Related article from Tsunagu Japan:
The 12 Best Cherry Blossom Spots In Hiroshima

Kyushu Region (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima Prefectures)

sakura at Kikuchi Park (Kikuchi, Kumamoto)
Kikuchi Park (Kikuchi, Kumamoto)
Maizuru Park (Fukuoka, Fukuoka)

Apart from Kagoshima, the first blooms in the Kyushu region are also expected to begin earlier than a typical year. This southern region of Japan has a relatively warmer climate compared to the rest of the mainland, so the first bloom tends to arrive pretty early. However, this region is also known to have a slightly longer period between the first bloom and full bloom than other areas.

Fukuoka (Fukuoka Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 17 | Full Bloom: March 28
Popular Viewing Sites: Maizuru Park (Fukuoka), Shiranoe Botanical Garden (Kitakyushu), Katsuyama Park (Kitakyushu)

Saga (Saga Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 19 | Full Bloom: March 30
Popular Viewing Sites: Ogi Park (Ogi), Hoshu-ji Temple (Kanzaki), Uranosaki Station (Imari), Nandoryo (Ureshino)

Nagasaki (Nagasaki Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 18 | Full Bloom: March 29
Popular Viewing Sites: Tateyama Park (Nagasaki), Kazagashira Park (Nagasaki), Omura Park (Omura)

Kumamoto (Kumamoto Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 17 | Full Bloom: March 28
Popular Viewing Sites: Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto), Isshingyo Sakura Tree (Minamiaso), Tachioka Nature Park (Uto)

Oita (Oita Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 20 | Full Bloom: April 2
Popular Viewing Sites: Fudoson Isshin-ji Temple (Oita), Mount Tsurumi (Beppu), Osada Park (Nakatsu)

Miyazaki (Miyazaki Prefecture)
First Bloom: March 23 | Full Bloom: April 3
Popular Viewing Sites: Darumizu Park (Miyazaki), Mochio Park (Miyakonojo), Hanatate Park (Nichinan)

Kagoshima (Kagoshima Prefecture)
First Bloom: April 1 | Full Bloom: April 12
Popular Viewing Sites: Sengan-en (Kagoshima), Takaoka Park (Aira), Kirishima Jingu Shrine (Kirishima)

▼Related article from Tsunagu Japan:
11 Cherry Blossom Spots Around Fukuoka: A Must-See for Spring Visits!

Conclusion

tokyo nakameguro canal sakura

Cherry blossoms begin to fall off about a week after full bloom, so you have two weeks at most to enjoy their ephemeral beauty after they first bloom. The length of the cherry-blossom viewing season depends on how long the warm weather continues.

The blooming of cherry blossoms marks the arrival of spring for people in Japan, and their brief, passing beauty serves as a reminder of that which is fleeting, precious, and beautiful every year.

▼Related articles from Tsunagu Japan:
A Comprehensive Guide to Hanami Etiquette
17 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Sakura
20 Best Places to Enjoy Sakura Cherry Blossoms in Japan

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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