Japan’s Cherry Blossom Forecast 2021
Blooming throughout Japan each spring, cherry blossoms are cherished for their fleeting beauty, symbolic nature and deep cultural resonance. The exact timing of the bloom varies between years and regions, making the yearly cherry blossom forecast eagerly anticipated. On this page you will find:
This page is one of several on which you’ll find everything you need to know about the blossoms, so you can plan and book your spring getaway in Japan including our spring-only cherry blossom tours in Nagano. Let’s start with when and where the blossoms are expected to bloom this year:
CHERRY BLOSSOM FORECAST 2021
Released on January 28th, the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) has published its second forecast for 2021. As we move closer to spring, you can expect the forecast to be refined with more exact dates. We will update that information as it becomes available.
The most recent update to the forecast – made on March 18th – has brought the dates of bloom signifcantly foward with many areas experiecning their bloom much earlier than usual. Cherry trees in Tokyo are expected to begin blooming on March 14th, around twelve days earlier than usual. Other areas are also expected to bloom as much as a week earlier than usual but most, just a couple of days earlier than the average first bloom. We will update this information when future forecasts are released.
CHERRY BLOSSOM VARIETIES & HOW THEY BLOOM
While the classic ‘somei yoshino’ is them most famous blossom variety, there are around twenty types of blossom tree bearing different flowers and blooming at different times. To learn of more about some of the most common varieties and the stages of bloom, see our ‘Cherry Blossom Varieties & How They Bloom’ page.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘SAKURA’ & ‘HANAMI’ IN JAPAN
Known as ‘sakura’, cherry blossoms are synonymous with Japanese culture and are seen to embody the fragile beauty of life itself. As the weather warms in spring, the flowers bloom and Japan will emerge from the long, cold winter and families and friends gather to enjoy ‘hanami’ (flower-viewing) together. A time to be social and celebrate the warmth and beauty of spring, see our ‘The Importance of ‘Sakura’ & ‘Hanami’ in Japan’ page to learn more about why the flowers are so cherished.
CHERRY BLOSSOM TOURS IN NAGANO
Based in Nagano, we offer group tours to some of the region’s best blossom spots along with fully-customisable private tours. For more information, see our ‘Cherry Blossom Tours in Nagano’ page.
CHERRY BLOSSOM FAQs
We hope you’re excited to experience the blossoms. These are some of the most common questions for visitors heading here in spring:
When is the best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan?
The blossoms bloom each spring with the exact timing depending to weather patterns – which vary from year-to-year – and the region of Japan you are intending to head to. The flowers will bloom in southern areas of Japan along with those on or near to the Pacific coastline first, from where the bloom will spread to the north. Expect the earliest bloom in areas including Kyushu, Shikoku and along the Pacific coast in the second-half of March with Tokyo usually flowering in the final week of March. Hokkaido is the final area to bloom, usually sometime in early-May.
Do we know the exact timing for 2021?
The Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) has released their much-anticipated cherry blossom forecast for 2021. See above for details.
Can I only see the blossoms in Japan?
Cherry blossoms exist in many countries including Japan’s neighbours Korea and China. There are some varieties that are only found in Japan and ‘hanami’ (flower-viewing) in spring to enjoy the blossoms is perhaps the quintessential Japanese experience. So while the blossoms aren’t only found here, there’s no better place to experience them.
Where can I see them?
Cherry blossoms occur throughout most regions of Japan, blooming south to north as the weather warms in spring. Some of the more popular places to see them are found in Tokyo and Kyoto with just as many fantastic and famous blossom spots found throughout Japan. So don’t feel that you have to head to the most famous spots to have the best experience and remember, if you do, you’ll be sharing those spaces and flowers with many other people. Some of the best places to see blossoms are temples, parks and around schools with many varieties also growing wild in the mountains. It’s a great reason to go local and head-out of the cities to other regions, where you’ll likely have much more space to enjoy the blossoms.
To get you started, see our ’25 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms In & Around Tokyo’ page and our for visitors wanting to get out of the capital and enjoy the flowers in the open spaces of Central Japan, see our ‘Cherry Blossoms in Nagano’ page.
Do I have to pay for entry to blossom spots and festivals?
It depends on the location and festival. Many if not most blossom locations and festivals can be entered free of charge, however some places will have an entry fee. But in most circumstances, entry will be free.
Why are the blossoms such a big deal in Japan?
Known as ‘sakura’ in Japan, cherry blossoms have long held deep cultural importance for Japanese. Appreciated for their fleeting beauty, the flowers are seen as symbolic of life itself – which is beautiful, fragile and brief. Blossoms have captured the minds and hearts of Japanese – from the most celebrated artists, writers and poets to the average person on the street – for a very long time, and the yearly bloom is awaited and cherished as much each year as it was for countless generations before. For more information, see our ‘The Importance of ‘Hanami’ & ‘Sakura’ in Japan’ page.
Are there any rules or is there any etiquette when it comes to enjoying the blossoms?
The flowers are fragile and will fall from the tree easily if touched or shaken. For that reason, it’s considered inappropriate to touch the tree or individual flowers, and risk them falling-off and preventing others from enjoying them. Please avoid touching the tree and whatever you do, do not break-off any part of the tree. Please also be mindful of others and allow each other space to enjoy and photograph the blossoms. If you’re intending to head to a famous/popular blossom spot for ‘hanami’ (flower-viewing) and want to reserve a spot to sit, make sure to get there early to lay down your blanket/sheet and avoid taking-up unnecessary space. If you are joining someone else’s hanami, remember to take-off your shoes before stepping onto the blanket/sheet and take all rubbish with you at the end of the day.