Weather News, a meteorological information company based in Chiba, released this year's forecast on Feb. 18 for the flowering dates of "someiyoshino" cherry trees in 700 locations across the country.
Because of this winter's warm weather trend, the cherry buds are due to bloom earlier than usual across northern and eastern Japan, with the predicted start date at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine set for March 21 -- the earliest in all Japan.
In addition to this warming trend, there is a strong possibility that temperatures will either remain in the normal range or inch higher through March -- meaning the cherry trees are expected to bloom early.
In western Japan, meanwhile, a similar warming trend has been punctuated by a precious few cold days. This lack of exposure to cold weather means that their "breaking of dormancy" -- when trees come out of their winter dormant period and prepare to flower -- will be insufficient, and so the opening of the buds will be delayed.
It has been eight years since Tokyo was the first place in the country where the blossoms opened. The projected flowering date of March 21 at Yasukuni Shrine is three days earlier than usual.
On the following day, the flowers are expected to begin blooming at the Sankeien Garden in the city of Yokohama (four days earlier than usual), and also at Nishi Park in the city of Fukuoka (one day later than usual).