Cherry blossoms flowered in Tokyo and two other prefectures in Japan
Spring has officially arrived in Japan.
Cherry blossoms flowered in Tokyo and two other prefectures in Japan, the first of this season in designated observation areas across the country, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on Saturday.
Among the several varieties of "sakura" (cherry trees) in Japan, the "someiyoshino" in Tokyo and Shizuoka opened six days earlier than usual, while the trees in southern prefecture Kumamoto flowered two days earlier, said the agency, which reports annually on this closely watched barometer of spring.
It was only the fourth time Tokyo has led the archipelago in opening the cherry blossom season. The other times were on March 23, 1979, March 24, 1993, and March 20, 2007.
A Meteorological Agency official said recent warm days helped speed up the opening of those cherry blossoms.
The announcement is made when five or six blossoms are observed on special "benchmark" trees in these areas.
Families, friends and office workers crowd parks to eat and drink beer and sake as they admire the blossoms in often raucous "hanami" parties.
It was reported earlier that cherry trees in Washington, the capital of America, also bloomed earlier this year.