[UPDATE, Feb 27] The dates have been changed to reflect the latest forecast as released by the Japan Meteorological Corporation.
It may still be winter but it looks like we're finally getting an idea of when we'll see the first signs of spring, according to The Japan Times. The recent forecast brings good news for eager travellers looking to plan ahead, especially with eyes on the upcoming cherry blossom season. For Tokyo, it's usually a safe bet to say the flowers will bloom sometime between end March and early April, but it looks like this year we could be getting our sakura a bit earlier than usual, again.
Following a relatively warm autumn and winter since October 2018, the buds are expected to start blooming in Tokyo on March 21. It's predicted to be slightly later than last year when sakura began to bloom on March 17, followed by a rare sighting of spring snow a few days later on March 21. The Japan Meteorological Corporation forecasts that full bloom in Tokyo will most likely be on March 29, thanks to the mild winter which has delayed the dormancy period for the cherry blossom trees.
If you're planning to travel outside of Tokyo, here are the expected flowering dates for other parts of Japan: Fukuoka, March 20; Kyoto, March 25; Osaka, March 27; Sapporo, May 4. One thing for sure is you'll want to keep an eye out on the sakura forecast as things may change with the weather. After all, March is still a few months away.