Sunday Snippets: Cherry Blossoms and the Index Tree

Happy spring!

I know we technically have a few days left to winter, according to the calendar, but nobody’s fooled here in Tokyo. The weather has been in the 60s (that’s Fahrenheit, y’all – I’m still unapologetically American in my temperature scale) and the first cherry blossoms of the season were recorded to have opened on Sunday, March 14th, here in Tokyo. In case you’re wondering, that’s tied with the earliest bloom on record … last year being the earliest bloom on record.

地球温暖化 (global warming) indeed.

(地球温暖化 or ちきゅうおんだんか was a word I learned right before returning to Japan in 2019 and let me just say, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of it.)

Sakura along the river in Monzen Nakacho

But here’s a question. How does Tokyo – or any of the other prefectures for that matter – decide what constitutes the first blooming date of the season?

For that, we turn to the Index Tree, and one of my first Sunday Snippets.

This past month, I started posting little video snippets on the Uncover Japan facebook page to tell some of my fun facts and stories in a different format. I won’t be able to post on a weekly basis, but I’ll always post them on a Sunday; hence the title. This week’s video was all about the opening of Tokyo’s sakura season so if you missed it, check it out here!

2 thoughts on “Sunday Snippets: Cherry Blossoms and the Index Tree

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  1. How long do the blossoms last? We were scheduled to visit you last year around the 17th of March. Would we have been too late to really enjoy them? Maybe we would have seen the peak!! That would have been nice.

    1. The blossoms last for about two weeks from first bloom, but the trick is timing. Right now, if you had come, you wouldn’t really see any yet. There are a few scattered on the trees right now but nothing “en masse”. They won’t peak until probably next Monday (March 22). But if next winter is cold, they could bloom later, on a more historically normal timeline. But that’s not to say there aren’t cherry blossoms in bloom right now – there are. Just not the somei yoshino.

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